Sexual and reproductive health

A Network to halve maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years

Elizabeth Wezena with babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East region of Ghana.

February 2017 -- Many women, their babies and children still die, or suffer from life-long disabilities, even after reaching a health facility, due to poor care practices. Improving the quality of care provided is of utmost urgency. With a target of halving maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years, national governments from 9 first wave countries and partners are joining forces to establish a Network to improve the quality of care provided to mothers, newborns and children. The Network will support countries to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve the vision set out by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

High-quality healthcare needed for girls and women who have experienced female genital mutilation

6 February 2017: WHO joins individuals and organizations worldwide in marking the International day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation (FGM). Over 200 million girls and women living worldwide have experienced this harmful practice, and this important event aims to raise awareness of this global problem. On this occasion, a special supplement has been published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics (IJGO). The co-authors note that while work to prevent FGM is of key importance, there is an urgent need to reach and support women and girls who have experienced FGM with high-quality healthcare.

WHO publishes new multinational fetal growth charts

A doctor performs ultrasound at a Hospital, Tigray region, Ethiopia

24 January 2017: A new study, published today by PLOS Medicine, shows that there is significant variation in fetal growth between countries. The study also found that fetal growth was to some extent influenced by maternal age, height, weight, parity and by fetal sex. A significant variation in birth weight was also observed between countries. The article which is open access also provides new WHO charts for estimating fetal growth and should be particularly useful for countries who may not have resources to develop their own charts.

New tool to address gender inequality in monitoring and evaluation of HIV and SRH programmes

10 December 2016: The theme for this year’s Human Rights Day is “Stand up for Someone’s Rights Today”. The first step in doing this is to make visible, through numbers and stories, those that are more vulnerable, discriminated against and marginalized. This requires the ability to measure and monitor how inequalities based on gender as well as ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, or gender identity affect access to health services and health outcomes. To address this, it is an appropriate day for WHO to release a new tool for strengthening gender-sensitive national HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) monitoring and evaluation systems.

Strengthening the health system response to violence against women

25 November 2016: Every year on this date, people from across the world come together to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day of global importance is followed by 16 days of activism, culminating in Human Rights Day on the 10th December. During these days people wear orange to take a positive stand against violence.

Research on sexual and reproductive health throughout the world

Reproductive Health Library (RHL)

RHL takes the best available evidence on sexual and reproductive health from Cochrane systematic reviews and presents it as practical actions for clinicians (and policy-makers) to improve health outcomes, especially in developing countries.


Women in the context of microcephaly and Zika virus disease

The risk of babies born with microcephaly has raised understandable concerns among women including those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. There are many unknowns regarding the possible causes of microcephaly.

Partnerships and initiatives

African woman with her two children.

VIDEO: Addressing violence against women: the health sector response

Search WHO guidelines on sexual and reproductive health

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