Sexual and reproductive health

Improving preterm birth outcomes: WHO launches new guidance

A mother holds her sleeping newborn daughter wrapped securely against her for warmth.
Photo: UNICEF/Asselin

24 August 2015 - Complications of preterm birth are the leading cause of death amongst children under five years of age. Without appropriate treatment, survivors of complications of preterm birth are at increased risk of lifelong disability and poor quality of life. WHO’s new guidance WHO recommendations on interventions to improve preterm birth outcomes has been launched to help prevent the complications and consequences of preterm birth.

Expanding access to contraception

Smiling parents on door step with their two children, South Africa.
WHO/Jim Daniels

Family planning allows people to attain their desired number of children and determine the spacing of pregnancies. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of infertility. Promotion of family planning – and ensuring access to preferred contraceptive methods for women and couples – is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women, while supporting the health and development of communities. WHO’s Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (MEC) provides family planning providers with guidance on helping those living with medical conditions to find a contraceptive method that works for them.

Expanding health worker roles to help improve access to safe abortion and post-abortion care: WHO launches new guideline

Nurse talking to a woman
Photo: Ipas

29 July 2015: Around 22 million unsafe abortions are estimated to take place worldwide each year, almost all in low- and middle-income countries. Adolescent girls and those who are poor, unmarried, less educated, and who live in rural contexts are particularly at risk of unsafe abortion. WHO’s new guideline Health worker roles in providing safe abortion care and post-abortion contraception aims to help break down one critical barrier which limits access to safe abortion care – the lack of trained providers.


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African woman with her two children.

WHO and ICPD beyond 2014

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