Sexual and reproductive health

Giving ‘voice to youth’ – WHO attends 134th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Zambia

19-23 March | LUSAKA Parliamentarians hold a unique position in that they can act as the voices of their constituents. They can also integrate and align legislation protecting human rights with national health policies, health-systems, and national health budgets. In recognition of this critical and unique role, WHO continues to work actively with parliamentarians, nationally, regionally and globally, with the aim of improving and advocating for the health of all people everywhere.

What matters to women during pregnancy: A different approach to antenatal care

A regular antenatal check-up, Bangladesh.
UNICEF/Noorani

8 March 2016 - International Women's Day: When WHO decided to update its guidelines on antenatal care (ANC), there was a feeling that maybe a different approach was needed. The current ANC guidance was based on a set of systematic reviews of the evidence and a trial and it proposed a model with at least four antenatal care visits (also known as focused antenatal care). It has been widely adopted in low- and middle-income countries, yet in 2012, only 52% of pregnant women had four or more ANC visits. To try and understand why this might be and how uptake of antenatal care services could be improved, a set of reviews were undertaken to look at what was missing from current antenatal care programmes.

Screening as well as vaccination is essential in the fight against cervical cancer

Illustration of cervical cancer screening in Mongolia.
WHO / WPRO /Nomin Lkhagvasuren

An estimated one million-plus women worldwide are currently living with cervical cancer. Many have no access to health services for prevention, curative treatment or palliative care. Cervical cancer is a consequence of a long term infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), and the majority of cervical cancer cases (>80%) occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The neglected tragedy of stillbirths

Health care worker listening to heart sounds during a pregnancy consultation.
UNICEF//Michele Sibiloni

19 January 2016 -- Worldwide in 2015, for every 1000 total births, 18.4 babies were stillborn, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. Progress in reducing this rate has been slow and at present speed, 160 years will pass before a pregnant woman in Africa has the same chance of her baby being born alive as a woman in a high-income country today. Even in high-income countries rates vary from 1.3 to 8 per 1000 births, a variation that shows further improvements are possible. A Lancet Series of five papers offers a roadmap for eliminating stillbirths by 2030, one the most neglected tragedies in global health today.

Highlights

Ward Cates – a champion for sexual and reproductive health and rights

It was with much sadness, that HRP learned of the death of Ward Cates on Friday 18 March, 2016. Ward had a long and fruitful association with HRP, initially through his involvement in several HRP Infertility Task Force activities, when he led groundbreaking work on global patterns of infertility.

2016-2021 Global Health Sector Strategies for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexually Transmitted Infections

Young people need information on safe sex practices to prevent STIs including HIV.

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.

In her statement to the media, Dr Margaret Chan summarized the evidence considered by members of an Emergency Committee on Zika virus disease convened under the International Health Regulations. The experts advised the Director-General that the outbreak, especially the association of clusters of microcephaly in time and place with infections, constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Research on sexual and reproductive health throughout the world

Search WHO guidelines on sexual and reproductive health

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Monthly electronic newsletter of new publications, research articles and events from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research.