Sexual and reproductive health

What's new?

Women at the centre: WHO issues new guidance on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV

21 February 2017 – A woman-centred approach to healthcare is one that consciously adopts the perspectives of women, their families and communities. This means that health services see women as active participants in, as well as beneficiaries of, trusted health systems that respond to women’s needs, rights and preferences in humane and holistic ways.

Launch of the Network to improve Quality of Care for Mothers, Newborns and Children

14 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.

New Zika research in the American Region of WHO

12 February 2017 – Seventeen new research proposals aimed at identifying solutions to address the Zika virus will soon be starting in 7 Latin American countries. They range from identifying transmission risk factors to evaluating diagnostic tools and examining the use of prenatal counselling and contraceptives.

Maternal mortality: looking back and moving forward

10 February 2017 – Thirty years ago today, in 1987, WHO, UNFPA and The World Bank hosted the first international Safe Motherhood Conference. This conference, held in Nairobi, brought together the international community to seek solutions to the high rates of maternal mortality, estimated at that time to be in excess of half a million maternal deaths every year. The conference opened with addresses by WHO’s Director-General at the time, Dr Halfdan Mahler and the UNFPA Executive Director Dr Nafiz Sadek was significant in that it led to the launch of the Safe Motherhood initiative and is widely credited with putting maternal health on the global agenda. The Safe Motherhood initiative was quickly strengthened by others including UNDP, UNICEF, IPPF the Population Council, and Family Care International.

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.

Mistreatment of women during childbirth a sad reality worldwide

2 February 2017 – Women worldwide face diverse forms of mistreatment during childbirth by health-care providers. Recent evidence, which has been generated through the HRP Alliance research capacity strengthening programme, suggests that this unacceptable mistreatment can include physical and verbal abuse, violations of privacy, stigma and discrimination, and neglect and abandonment.

First global estimates of annual number of neonatal herpes cases

31 January 2017 – Neonatal herpes is a rare but potentially devastating complication of genital herpes during pregnancy, which can cause brain damage, breathing problems, seizures and even death. Neonatal herpes infection can occur when an infant is exposed to herpes simplex virus types 1 or 2 (HSV-1 or HSV-2) in a woman’s genital tract during birth. For the first time, researchers from WHO, the University of Bristol, and the University of Washington have published in new estimates The Lancet Global Health that aim to evaluate the approximate global burden of this disease.

WHO publishes new multinational fetal growth charts

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.


Online consultation: Revision of Definitions of Maternal Deaths

Online consultation: Draft Statement on Skilled Attendant at Birth

Request for Proposals (RFP)

Call for intention of interest:

The HRP Special Programme submits its research projects for consideration, comment, guidance and approval to an established advisory body of international experts to assess each project’s scientific design, as well as technical and financial/budgetary aspects. HRP research projects cover all topic areas of sexual and reproductive health and includes projects that involve human participants, involve biological material obtained from human participants, obtain information from human participants, access records on human participants or involve experiments in animals. The type of research under consideration is not restricted and includes: basic, biomedical, epidemiological, social science, as well as operations, implementation, health systems and programme development research. If you are currently, or have recently served on a research proposal/protocol review body technically assessing projects in sexual and reproductive health, and you are interested in being considered as a member of the HRP Research Project Review Panel, please submit your interest via e-mail to with your e-mail subject line reading “HRP Research Project Review Panel”. Please include a recent consolidated C.V, including a publication list as appropriate.


Journal articles

Supplement front cover

Gynecology & Obstetrics

Special Issue: Management of health outcomes of female genital mutilation: Systematic reviews and evidence syntheses

Technical publications






OMS: Fortalecer la función del sistema de salud para abordar la violencia contra las mujeres




OMS : Violence contre les femmes - Renforcer la réponse du système de santé



Upcoming events


All RHR/HRP publications


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


Strengthening the health system response to violence against women


TEDx Talks

Why we shouldn’t shy away from sexual education
Dr V. Chandra-Mouli, WHO/HRP

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