Sexual and reproductive health

What's new?

New estimates highlight need for the antibiotic that can cure maternal and congenital syphilis across world

Pregnant women who have been diagnosed with syphilis can be cured with an injection of benzathine penicillin, which can also prevent mother-to-child transmission of this infection. Newly published evidence shows however, that shortages of benzathine penicillin have been reported by countries where there is high number of pregnant women and infants infected with syphilis.

Mother-to-child transmission of syphilis decreasing but mortality and morbidity remain high

Syphilis can be transmitted sexually or from mother to child during pregnancy. Left untreated, it can lead to catastrophic fetal outcomes in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy. New 2012 estimates, based on 2008-2012 data, are now available, published in an open access Lancet article.

Reproductive Health and Research at WHO’s 69th World Health Assembly

The World Health Assembly is the supreme decision-making body for WHO and meets annually in Geneva. This year’s meeting took place from 23-28 May 2016, and was attended by delegations from all its Member States. The main function of the Assembly is to determine the policies of the Organization.

New WHO guidelines to improve care for millions living with female genital mutilation

16 May 2016 -- Health-care providers across the world need to be prepared to provide care to girls and women who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). New guidelines have been launched by WHO to help health-care providers give better care to the more than 200 million girls and women worldwide who live with FGM.

Abortion rates drop in more developed regions but fail to improve in developing regions*

12 May 2016 -- New estimates, published today in the Lancet, indicate that the induced abortion rate has declined significantly in more developed countries between 1990 and 2014, but not in developing countries. A new study, undertaken by the Guttmacher Institute and WHO, has estimated that, worldwide, during the period 2010-2014, there were 35 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44. This translates to over 56 million abortions per year.

Opportunities to help safeguard sexual and reproductive health and rights in emergencies

2 May 2016 -- A new commentary highlights the urgent need to answer to the specific sexual and reproductive health needs of girls and women living in emergency situations. Published in the May 2016 issue of the WHO Bulletin, which focuses on the implementation of the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' health, the commentary also underlines the opportunities for political commitment at the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit.


Grand Challenges Canada announces new open funding opportunities

Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, has two new open funding opportunities open to applicants in low- and middle-income countries and Canada: Stars in Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Saving Brains.

Stars in Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

Grand Challenges Canada is seeking bold ideas for products, services and implementation models that could transform how persistent challenges in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health are addressed in low- and middle-income countries. Successful proposals will be awarded seed grants of up to $100,000 CAD over a maximum of 12 to 18 months.

  • Read more
    Deadline: July 19, 2016, at 15:00 ET

Saving Brains

With the ultimate goal of increasing human capital and tackling existing inequalities, Saving Brains seeks bold ideas for products, services and implementation models that protect and nurture early brain development in a sustainable manner. Successful proposals will be awarded seed grants of up to $250,000 CAD over a maximum of 24 months.

  • Read more
    Deadline: July 29, 2016, at 15:00 ET


Manager (Quantitative Assessment and Data Management)
Zika Research Consultant
Accountability Consultant
Scientist (implementation research in humanitarian settings)

Call for case studies on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV

The Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is developing a consolidated Guideline on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV. WHO would like to include in the Guideline some illustrative case studies, highlighting innovative and successful policies and programmes in this area.

Through this call, WHO is requesting interested individuals, as well as international and national organizations, civil society networks, NGOs, and other entities which manage or implement policies and programmes for women living with HIV, to submit relevant case studies that have demonstrated successful approaches to service delivery and uptake, (optional 1 or 2 illustrating photographs), to WHO for its consideration for selection and inclusion in the Guideline.

Grand Challenges Canada announces new open funding opportunities

Call for RHL Contributors

Available in multiple languages, WHO’s Reproductive Health Library (RHL) is visited over 200,000 times a month by reproductive health providers worldwide. The WHO Reproductive Health Library includes high-quality summaries of systematic reviews relevant to reproductive health providers, WHO recommendations on reproductive health practice, and how-to videos of key reproductive health procedures.

We are currently looking for volunteers to join us as RHL contributors, from colleagues who:

  • Have experience in reproductive health practice and/or research
  • Are interested in opportunities for international collaboration and knowledge translation
  • Are keen to work with WHO on improving the quality of reproductive health care worldwide
  • Have good writing and scientific skills

All expressions of interest can be sent to

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

WHO Bulletin - Volume 94 - May 2016

Bulletin front cover

Special theme: the Global strategy for women's, children's and adolescents' health (2016-2030)

Technical publications



Prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during childbirth - WHO Statement


Upcoming events

Capacity Building Workshops for facilitators of country investment planning processes for RMNCAH

15 to 21 June 2016, Geneva, Switzerland

To orient a pool of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) experts in the most up to date knowledge and approaches to RMNCAH programming and implementation, as a step in the establishment of an RMNCAH consultants pool to assist countries.

All RHR/HRP publications


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

VIDEO: Addressing violence against women: the health sector response

Microcephaly/Zika virus

TEDx Talks

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

RHL on iPad

Available for iPad, the RHL app allows you to access the entire library offline

Stay informed

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