Onabanjo said sexual education is still in favour of abstinence even though there is evidence that it does not work. Picture: Pixabay

South Africans are part of the over 200 million women that want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception, while 25 million unsafe abortions are carried out every year.

This is according to a new report by the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

The report, launched at Constitution Hill in Joburg, highlighted how hard it still is for people to get access to safe sexual and reproductive care information and healthcare in various parts of the world.

The global report states that while the women go through unplanned pregnancies, more than 45 million women receive inadequate antenatal care, or none at all and another 30 million deliver their babies outside of a health facility.

READ: Nature of sex education in SA a worry

Julitta Onabanjo, the regional director of the United Nations Population Fund, said when it comes to matters of sex and sexuality - especially when involving women - Africans consider themselves very traditional. Onabanjo said sexual education is still in favour of abstinence even though there is evidence that it does not work. She added that there were huge gaps in supplying lifesaving contraceptive products to communities.

“We have done work on condom gaps and, in this region alone, we have a condom gap of 2 billion annually. In South Sudan, one of the countries that is seeing a rise in HIV infections, they have 96 percent gaps in condoms,” Onabanjo said.

Section27 executive director Mark Heywood said the lack of access to condoms and information on sexuality was more acute for young people. “Access to condoms and accurate information on sex and sexuality in our schools is poor at best, and non-existent in most schools. The draft of the policy on teenage pregnancy produced by our Department of Basic Education is disturbing in its lack of understanding of the real issues,” he said.

The Mercury