Sexual and reproductive health

Half of preterm babies born in hospitals miss out on life-saving drug

Photo of man holding newborn baby
Photo: Lieve Blancquaert
Antenatal corticosteroids could save the lives of some 400 000 premature babies

A new World Health Organization study reveals that only half of women who gave birth preterm in hospitals have received steroid injections which prevent death and disability among vulnerable, preterm newborns. The study is the largest to look at the use of these life-saving drugs internationally. These drugs have existed for decades, don’t require refrigeration, and cost less than US$ 1 an injection.

WHO releases revised recommendations for hormonal contraceptive use for women at high risk of HIV and women living with HIV

Mothers with children waiting outside a general clinic in Lesotho to receive ARV treatment
UNAIDS/J. Naar

24 July 2014 – During the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne, the World Health Organization announced that following a review of existing epidemiological evidence, including new studies published since 2012, no changes to the Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (MEC) recommendations for initiating or continuing hormonal contraceptives among women at high risk of HIV or living with HIV were warranted. Also, the revised guideline adds recommendations across classes of antiretroviral medications and the individual medications themselves.

WHO commits to stand against female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM)

22 July 2014 – WHO participated in the first Girl Summit in London. Organized by the UK Government, and co-hosted by UNICEF, the summit aimed to mobilize domestic and international efforts to end FGM and child, early and forced marriage within a generation. The summit invited dialogue and commitments from partner agencies, the private sector, religious organizations, civil society, and governments around the world.

Obstetric fistula: Time to end the tragedy

An Ethiopian woman recovers from life-changing fistula surgery at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Lucy Perry/Hamlin Fistula Relief & Aid Fund Australia
An Ethiopian woman recovers from life-changing fistula surgery, Ethiopia

23 MAY 2014 - International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. Obstetric fistula is the result of prolonged, obstructed labour. It leaves women incontinent, ashamed and often isolated from their communities. A debilitating condition affecting approximately 2 million girls across Africa and Asia. There are numerous challenges associated with providing fistula repair services in developing countries, including a dearth of available and motivated surgeons with specialized skills, operating rooms, equipment and funding from local or international donors to support both surgeries and post-operative care. Finding ways of providing services in a more efficient and cost-effective manner is paramount.

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WHO and ICPD beyond 2014

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30 Sept. to 3 Oct. 2014, Cape Town, South Africa