World Health Assembly adopts a historic resolution that addresses violence against women and girls

Photo of Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, First Lady of Zambia giving a speech at the World Health Assembly
Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, First Lady of Zambia at the 67th World Health Assembly

20 MAY 2014 – Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata, First Lady of Zambia, addressed delegates at the World Health Assembly and deplored the prevalence of violence against women and girls and the extent to which cases of violence remain hidden and unrecognized. Member States adopted a resolution on “Strengthening the role of the health system in addressing violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children” at the 67th World Health Assembly.

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.

New Maternal Mortality Estimates report steady progress, more work needed

6 MAY 2014 - New estimates for maternal mortality analysed by a United Nations Interagency group led by WHO show a 45% reduction in maternal deaths, from 523 000 in 1990 to an estimated 289 000 in 2013. Additionally, a new WHO study published in The Lancet Global Health, looks at why these women are dying. More than 1 in 4 maternal deaths are caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV, malaria and obesity, which can all be aggravated by pregnancy. This is similar to the proportion of deaths from severe bleeding—previously cited as the main cause of maternal deaths.

Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services

In order to accelerate progress towards attainment of international development goals and targets in sexual and reproductive health, and in particular to contribute to meeting unmet need for contraceptive information and services, WHO has published guidance for policy-makers, programme managers providers and other stakeholders in the health sector on how to ensure that human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled, while services are scaled up to reduce unmet need for contraception

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