Sexual and reproductive health

WHO family planning guidance document wins a first prize in British Medical Association awards

Front cover

15 September 2011 - The WHO Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (4th edition) or “MEC”, a global family planning resource published by WHO/RHR, was awarded the first prize from among the highly recommended nominees in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology category in the 2011 British Medical Association Book Awards. The awards were announced at a ceremony last night at BMA House in London.

The MEC is one of the cornerstones of WHO's Family Planning evidence-based guidelines and gives recommendations on which contraceptive methods can be advised for use by clients, given a particular medical condition. As one of the more widely used publications of HRP/RHR, it has been translated into over 15 languages and versions.

It aims to provide guidance to national family planning/ reproductive health programmes in the preparation of guidelines for service delivery of contraceptives. The present edition has nearly 1800 recommendations on 17 family planning methods. A version of this publication has also been produced as a wheel, for easy and quick determination of contraceptive use eligibility. The demand for this wheel, including requests for its translations into United Nations official languages and other national languages, has been overwhelming. It certainly addresses an important need.

The British Medical Association established its annual BMA Medical book competition in 1996. The competition aims to encourage and reward excellence in medical publishing. Appraisals are conducted by experts in the field who examine the entries on qualities that include accuracy of subject matter, whether the book fills a gap in the market, and the overall quality of presentation.