July 11 was World Population Day and this year the UN focused attention on safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls. In particular, raising awareness about the sexual and reproductive health needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls during the pandemic.
Women have been disproportionately affected by the crisis with heightened levels of gender-based violence and decreased/lack of access to reproductive health care reported.
In partnership with Data4Good, Michael Frost, representing the AIHW, participated in a World Population Day seminar on Friday July 10.
Data4Good is an organisation that uses data insights to help businesses create positive social or environmental impacts. The World Population Day seminar provided different perspectives on the opportunities that data can provide on population issues, such as reproductive health, sustainable development, gender equality and human rights can be tackled.
Speaking to Data4Good members, Michael Frost set the scene by outlining the AIHW’s role in providing stronger evidence to make better decisions (in this case to help increase safety in the area of reproductive health). Specifically, Michael shared how addressing women’s health rights improves outcomes for society as well as how data can help governments make better policies on health.
Michael then went into detail on the AIHW’s work on data about women, mothers, sexual health and issues such as endometriosis and female genital mutilation. And how this data provides a picture of what’s going on, provide new perspectives and providing supporting evidence and accountability for health policy.
Below are some key points from the seminar:
- Around 1 in 9 women born in 1973–78 were estimated to have been diagnosed with endometriosis by age 40–44.
- The rate of women giving birth decreased from 65 per 1,000 women of reproductive age (15-44 years) in 2008 to 58 per 1,000 women in 2018.
- The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in 2015-2017 was 6.4 deaths per 100,000 women giving birth, which is the second lowest MMR reported in any triennium in Australia.
- The rate of stillborn babies in Australia had not declined in 20 years and every day 6 babies are stillborn and 2 die in the neonatal period.
The whole seminar is available to watch on YouTube.