Sexual and reproductive health

World Prematurity Day

A nurse tends a sleeping premature baby in an incubator, Azerbaijan
Sleeping premature baby, Azerbaijan.

17 November 2015 ¦ World Prematurity Day is a day on which countries around the world seek to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of preterm birth. Every year, around 15 million babies are born preterm, that is to say that they are born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. Complications of preterm births are the leading cause of death amongst children under five years of age. Without appropriate treatment, those who survive often face lifelong disabilities, including learning, visual and hearing problems and their quality of life is greatly affected. In an effort to improve preterm birth outcomes, WHO has published new recommendations for managing preterm births that are designed to save lives and improve the health of preterm infants. Many of these recommendations are simple, proven and cost-effective measures.

Significant decline in maternal mortality – but much remains to be done

Standing pregnant women smiling at camera.

12 November 2015: According to new figures released by United Nations agencies and the World Bank Group today in the journal The Lancet, the world has seen a significant drop in maternal mortality over the last twenty-five years. The new report from WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, and the World Bank Group highlights a drop in maternal mortality of almost 44% since 1990.

Substantial number of genital herpes infections caused by herpes simplex virus type 1

28th October 2015: Approximately two-thirds of the population under age 50 are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which commonly causes orolabial herpes (‘cold sores’) and which can also cause genital herpes. In the first WHO global and regional estimates of the burden of HSV-1 infection ever published, the authors state that around 3.7 billion people under age 50 are infected with the virus.

WHO issues statements on use of reversible hormonal contraception

A family planning client displays her contraceptive implant insertion site during a control visit, CambodiaA family planning client displays her contraceptive implant insertion site.
Photoshare/Marcel Reyners

21 October 2015: WHO has issued two statements which address concerns about the use of two different hormonal contraceptives: Progestogen-only implants and depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA).


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.

Partnerships and initiatives

African woman with her two children.

Moving forward on accountability for women's, children's and adolescents' health

16-17 November 2015. Members of the Commission on Information and Accountability and its independent Expert Review Group, together with some 100 senior representatives from governments, parliaments, civil society, international organizations and the private sector meet in Geneva to operationalize the new accountability framework of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

Research on sexual and reproductive health throughout the world

Search WHO guidelines on sexual and reproductive health

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