Sexual and reproductive health

Meetings, conferences and events

July 2015

Site initiation meetings conducted for the UPTAKE Project

Group photo of the participants to the site initiation meeting in Kenza


23 – 31 July 2015: The UPTAKE Project is a multi-country implementation research study which aims to increase met needs for family planning and contraception through a participatory approach. Funded by HRP with support from USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and led by WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP, development partners include the International Centre for Reproductive Health, Kenya, Maternal, Adolescent and Child Health Research, South Africa, and the University Teaching Hospital in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community Development Maternal Child Health in Zambia.

The Project conducted site initiation meetings in Kenya, South Africa and Zambia from 23 to 31 July 2015. The meetings were held to review and ensure common understanding and approach to the study protocol, procedures and instruments. Additionally, the project teams visited the districts and counties where the study will be conducted and met with key health system representatives. Attendees welcomed the proposed research study and recognised the need for participation in addressing issues such as low family planning and contraception uptake, high rates of unintended pregnancies and increased method discontinuation, particularly among adolescents.

June 2015

Missions briefing on 2016-2021 Global Health Sector Strategies for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STIs

More than 80 participants attended a Missions Briefing on Tuesday 30 June 2015 hosted by the governments of Brazil and France with the support of the WHO Secretariat on the development of three global health sector strategies for 2016-2021: HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections.

Annual meeting of HRP’s Policy and Coordination Committee

25-26 June 2015: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND Representatives of WHO Member States, UN agencies, international organizations and additional stakeholders came together at the headquarters of WHO in Geneva, for the annual meeting of the Policy and Coordination Committee for the UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP). The Policy and Coordination Committee is the governing body of HRP and attendees at this year’s meeting reviewed and approved HRP’s plan of action and budget, as well as longer-term strategic plans and their financial implications. The Committee also reviewed the annual financial statements of HRP and periodic progress reports amongst other functions, and represented the interests and responsibilities of the parties cooperating in the Special Programme.

IBP logo

Annual IBP Consortium Meeting

16-18 June 2015: ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA. Over 200 participants attended the annual IBP Consortium Meeting in Addis Ababa, including representatives from IBP consortium partners, government officials, and donor organizations. The meeting began with a pre-meeting workshop entitled “Hands on for scaling up Family Planning & Reproductive Health and Best practices”. This workshop included group and panel discussions on experiences and emerging scale-up approaches and high impact practices.

During the course of the meeting over 30 speakers talked about a broad range of topics focused on implementation and scale-up of family planning activities in the East Africa region. Panel discussions highlighted new publications and recommendations from WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP – such as the fifth edition of WHO’s Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (MEC) and the MEC wheel. Additional panel discussions covered a wide range of topics, including Documenting the implementation of effective practices; Ethiopia and Kenya: Learning through Cross-Country Exchange and Inter-country collaboration and also included regional panels on Scale-up and mHealth (mobile health).

The IBP Secretariat shined a spotlight on the new 2016-2020 IBP strategy, which will aim to reflect changes in the family planning landscape and strengthen the ability and commitment of IBP member organizations to more actively engage in the work of the IBP Consortium.

The first HRP Alliance & Regional Research Committee (RRC) meeting for Africa and Eastern Mediterranean regions and regional consultation on research prioritization in sexual and reproductive health

9-11 June: NAIROBI, KENYA This successful meeting was jointly convened by the WHO Africa and Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office and WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP. The meeting brought together 38 researchers from a range of backgrounds, including representatives of long term institutional development grantee institutions, research partners, WHO Collaborating centres in the two regions, WHO country offices, regional offices (EMRO, AFRO, and WHO HQ) and ministries of health, to discuss the importance of research capacity strengthening to help promote and protect sexual and reproductive health and rights in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions.

Discussions focused on key lessons and challenges and regional priorities for sexual and reproductive health were identified. A panel discussion on “Key Challenges in Research capacity strengthening and Strategies to strengthen collaboration to create centres of excellence for advancing sexual and reproductive health in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions” was organized. This first regional meeting encouraged intra and cross-regional discussion, as grantees shared common problems and sought solutions together with WHO staff and research partners. During the meeting several mentoring arrangements between institutions and regional experts were finalized. The meeting closed with the presentation of the two regions’ implementation plans for strengthening research capacity for the promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Training curricula meeting on health-care for women subjected to partner violence and sexual violence

The training participants in Geneva

1-2 June 2015: GENEVA. WHO is developing training curricula on health-care for women subjected to partner violence and sexual violence, aimed at health-care providers as well as university-level students. This meeting brought together 26 experts from across the world, to make progress on the design and implementation of the curricula. Participants included representatives from academia, research centres, medical facilities, non-governmental organizations and health departments at local and national governments, in addition to representatives from WHO, UNFPA and USAID.

Discussions focused on key lessons learned from similar training initiatives around the world, important content to cover, and guiding principles for curricula development, as well as implementation challenges and potential opportunities. The meeting brought to light useful insights which will help to guide the next steps of the training curricula development. For information and queries, please contact Claudia Garcia-Moreno

May 2015

Technical briefing "Changing the trajectory of three epidemics: HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs through the development of global health sector strategies"

This technical briefing at the 68th World Health Assembly brought together WHO Member States and partners and stakeholders to discuss the crucial importance of the three inter-related Global Health Sector Strategies for STIs, HIV and viral hepatitis, to address these major intersecting health issues.

The briefing included speeches from representatives of WHO HQ, WHO Member States, Brazil, Zimbabwe, France, Egypt, and the Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Tewodros Melesse. Interventions were made by WHO Director General Margaret Chan, the Head of Delegations from Myanmar and South Africa, Director of the Office of the UNAIDS Deputy Director, WHO Regional Director for Africa, as well as Ms Raquel Peck CEO of the World Hepatitis Alliance and Ms Juliana Odindo, from civil society in Kenya.

April 2015

Family Planning 2020 Reference Group Meeting, New Delhi, India, 23-24 April 2015

Marleen Temmerman, Director of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP, attended the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) Reference Group meeting, which took place on 23 and 24 April 2015, in New Delhi, India. Marleen Temmerman attended the meeting in her new capacity as official member representing WHO, after two years serving as co-chair of the FP2020 Performance, Monitoring and Evidence working group, together with the Population Council.

The main objective of the meeting was to reach consensus of how FP2020 can work to position family planning in the post-2015 agenda. Marleen Temmerman provided an overview to the group on the ongoing process of development of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health with a specific focus on the technical content of the current draft.

The meeting also gave Marleen Temmerman an opportunity to give an update on the ongoing WHO work in the area of family planning and contraception, including the recent launch of the implementation guide “Ensuring human rights within contraceptive service delivery”.

Commission on Population and Development, forty-eighth session, 13-17 April 2015, New York USA

Representatives from WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP join United Nations Member States and representatives from over 700 civil society organisations from across the globe, at the forty-eighth session of the Commission on Population and Development, from 13 – 17 April 2015, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. The theme of this year’s Commission is ‘Realizing the Future We Want: Integrating Population Issues into Sustainable Development, Including in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’. Mr John Wilmoth, Director of the United Nations Population Division states, “Through a deeper understanding of how the world is changing, combined with better planning, stronger partnerships, and greater political will, we can create a better tomorrow for both people and planet.”

WHO and UNFPA have organised a Panel Debate during the commission to take place on 15 April, entitled ‘Ensuring human rights within family planning’. The debate poses a number of questions, including ‘Why do we need a human rights lens in family planning?’, ‘How can countries ensure human rights in their family planning programmes?’ and ‘Are global commitments and goals for family planning sufficiently grounded in human rights?’. A social media hashtag has been created for the event: #HumanRightsCPD

March 2015

Women’s and children’s health at the 132nd Inter-parliamentary Union General Assembly in Hanoi, Viet Nam

A view of the parliament meeting room, Hanoi.

WHO is an official observer at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which is hosting its 132nd General Assembly in Hanoi, Viet Nam from 28 March to 1 April 2015. Dr Marleen Temmerman, Director of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP, is representing WHO at this year’s assembly, which is paying particular attention to the important role that Parliaments must continue to play to improve women's and children's health, building on a resolution passed on this topic by the IPU Assembly in 2012 in Kampala. This year, Parliamentarians will be called to review progresses since the 2010 launch of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health in view of the development of an updated Global Strategy later this year and the definition of the post-2015 agenda.

Fifty-ninth Commission of the Status of Women, New York, USA – Special Panel to mark the launch of The Lancet series on Violence against Women and Girls

The 59th session of the annual Commission on the Status of Women runs from the 9-20 March at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. Experts from WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP attend the Commission, which is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, and which brings together a total of 8,600 representatives, including more than 1,100 non-governmental organizations, as well as representatives from government and UN agencies. This year’s Commission on the Status of Women marks 20 years since the adoption of The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The Commission aims to take stock on progress made 20 years after Beijing, and to highlight remaining gaps which need to be addressed to achieve the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action.

WHO and the Global Women’s Institute co-sponsored a special side event panel at the Commission to celebrate the recent launch of The Lancet series on Violence against Women and Girls (co-authored by WHO). The panel explained how violence against women and girls remains an obstacle to achieving the goals of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Released in November 2014, this side event included presentations highlighting the need for more evidence on what works to prevent violence against women and girls, the importance of actively engaging men and boys, the need for including the health sector in a multi-sectoral response to violence against women and girls, and the need to engage civil society in collaboration with policy makers in promoting action to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. It was agreed that multi-sectoral, evidence-based tools and intervention strategies are needed.

February 2015

Stakeholder consultation on updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health in New Delhi, India

From the 26th to 27th February 2015, WHO department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP, took place in a consultation which brought together stakeholders from around the world to propose priorities and approaches for the updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. The 2010-2015 Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which has been put into action by the UN Secretary General’s global movement Every Woman Every Child, has been an immensely successful campaign. The new Global Strategy aims at building upon the success and the lesson learnt from the first Global Strategy and to be a roadmap for action and accountability by all partners to end preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents and improve their health and wellbeing.

Representatives from the Department attended the consultation to provide input on the conceptual framework and technical content of the strategy, drawing upon the knowledge of a wide range of experts – including on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, issues of social and environmental determinants of health, health systems, noncommunicable diseases, human rights, and other relevant areas. During the consultation, RHR/HRP highlighted the crucial importance of including sexual and reproductive health and rights within the updated strategy.

At the New Delhi consultation, WHO also launched its Strategies toward ending preventable maternal mortality, to push for country commitments and financial investments by both governments and development partners to its targets and strategies. These are grounded in a human rights approach to maternal and newborn health, and focus on eliminating significant inequities that lead to disparities in access, quality and outcomes of care within and between countries.

Annual meeting of Gender Advisory Panel and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group

Photo of the participants to STAG

The annual meetings of the Gender Advisory Panel and the Scientific and Technical Advisory group took place at WHO HQ in Geneva, Switzerland from 16 to 20 February. Experts from around the globe form part of these two meetings, to advise on the actions of the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP, and all staff members from the Department were invited to partake in the week’s activities.

January 2015

Executive Board - 136th Session

Stakeholder consultation on sexual and reproductive health and human rights of women living with HIV.

WHO’S Department of Reproductive Health and Research including UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (RHR /HRP), convened a two-day consultation from January 14th to 15th 2015, at WHO headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland, to present and discuss the results of a community survey on the sexual and reproductive health priorities of women living with HIV.

The survey included global on-line survey and face-to-face dialogues, conducted by Salamander Trust and ATHENA Network, in collaboration with members of the UNAIDS Dialogue Platform, the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) and the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), and regional and national networks of women living with HIV. The survey was conducted in March–June 2014 and is the largest global e-survey on the sexual and reproductive health priorities of women with HIV to date, with participation of over 1000 women from 94 countries, ranging in age from 15 to 72 years. In addition, cognizant that the “digital divide” is a huge issue for women and girls living with HIV, hard copy text versions of the survey were made available in all the languages in which the survey was conducted (English, French, Russian and Spanish). A literature review on human rights related to the sexual and reproductive health of women living with HIV was also developed to help define relevant human rights elements which might inform the elaboration of a human rights framework on this topic.

The two-day consultation included representatives from the groups that led the community survey of women living with HIV, and human rights experts, UN and other partners, and WHO colleagues from numerous Departments.