A new agenda for women’s health

Women's health beyond reproduction

1 September 2013- A special WHO Bulletin released this month dedicated entirely to “Women’s health beyond reproduction” highlights the need for a life-course approach to women’s health. Evidence shows that many of the health problems faced by adult women have their roots in early life, validating the wisdom in a life course approach to women’s health.

The life-course approach to women’s health has three innovative aspects. First, it marks the convergence of three complementary domains: maternal and reproductive health, ageing and noncommunicable diseases. Second, it involves the development, piloting and testing of new health-care delivery systems featuring diagonal approaches and private–public partnerships. Third, it is driven by policy-makers engaged in applying knowledge translation methods that encourage the use of research and evidence in policy development and planning.

In a section entitled “lessons from the field” examples from Rwanda and the region feature comprehensive programmes and innovative public-private partnerships to combat women’s cancers. One of the main pillars is the delivery of the human papillomavirus vaccine to young girls, as well as the strengthening of prevention, screening and treatment.

This theme issue of the Bulletin and other initiatives, such as the Lancet Commission on Women’s Health, are intended to stimulate interest in women’s health beyond reproduction and to encourage joint, decisive action on the part of multiple stakeholders in promoting a life-course approach to women’s health.


The Bulletin is one of the world's leading public health journals. It is a peer-reviewed monthly with a special focus on developing countries, giving it unrivalled global scope and authority. The Bulletin is one of the top 10 public and environmental health journals with an impact factor of 5.4, according to the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI). It is essential reading for all public health decision-makers and researchers who require its special blend of research, well-informed opinion and news.