Sexual and reproductive health

Meetings, Conferences, Events

Parliamentarians from 134 countries renew their commitment to ICPD

April 2014

More than 260 parliamentarians from 134 countries renewed their commitment to the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and expressed strong political support for reproductive health and family planning during a conference in April.

The conference aimed at presenting progress within the ICPD programme and to see what is the role of Parliamentarians in achieving universal access to reproductive health and research. The main outcome of the event was the adoption of the Stockholm Statement of Commitment, which reaffirmed the strong consensus among global parliamentarians on the importance of positioning sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including family planning, at the heart of the international development agenda.

With no less than 11 references to reproductive health (RH) and 8 references to family planning (FP) and modern contraceptive methods, the statement strongly underlines that universal access to RH and FP is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women, and to supporting the health and development of communities.

“We also recognize the importance (..) in eradicating poverty and social inequities; achieving universal access to quality primary and secondary education; achieving gender equality; achieving universal health coverage; improving maternal and child health; expanding high quality family planning services, and access to a mix of modern contraceptive methods which take into account client choices and clinical needs; promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights; preventing and treating sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS; and eliminating gender based violence as well as harmful practices against women and girls; and addressing the health and other impacts of alcohol and drugs abuse” .

WHO was very active in the run-up to the conference and the Director of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research was a keynote speaker during sessions that highlighted the importance of translation data and evidence into policy.

Dr. Temmerman gave a keynote speech at the thematic session: "Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights" held on 25 April 2014. The aim of this session wais to use global, regional and country examples to highlight the challenges of integrating quality sexual and reproductive health into health system at the national and sub-national level, putting emphasis on those underserved and underserviced and to discuss the policy and advocacy implications of such integration.

The three-day event was organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) together with the Swedish Parliament, the Swedish All-Party Parliamentary Group on SRHR and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Adolescent pregnancy: a priority public health and development priority in Latin America and the Caribbean

Adolescent pregnancy has been identified as a priority public health and development priority in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). There is also widespread recognition that preventing early pregnancy and pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity requires multisectoral action. WHO/PAHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank who have been working on this area have decided to join forces to address it. The regional meeting was organized by them jointly with the support of the Norwegian government. It was held from 17th to 19th March 2014 in Managua, Nicaragua, the country with the highest adolescent pregnancy rate in the LAC region The meeting brought together teams from 13 countries in the LAC region. Each country team consisted of representatives of Ministries of Health, academic institutions and UN agencies.

RHR contributed to the meeting with evidence on effective approaches to prevent early pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes in adolescents, and on tools to take this evidence to action.

New unanimous resolution by the Inter-parliamentary Union on risk resilient development

March 21 2014

Dr Temmerman, representing WHO within the IPU Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS and Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, the IPU governing body in charge of health issues, provided technical support in the development and negotiation of the resolution, stressing the importance of integrating factors of population growth, family planning and demographic dynamics into policy measures for sustainable development. The resolution calls on parliaments “to work, at national, regional and international level, for the inclusion of a reproductive health indicator as part of the post-2015 development goals in the areas of health, equity and women’s empowerment, to promote a rights-based approach to reproductive health and to take appropriate measures, through legislation and budget allocations, to provide universal access to voluntary family planning services” (art.14)

Strengthening policy implementation of violence-against women in Uganda, particularly the role of the health sector

February 4 2014

The Ugandan Ministry of Health, with support from WHO (Uganda and HQ/HRP) organized a policy dialogue in Kampala on 4 February 2014 to share results of a readiness assessment conducted to assess the country’s policy environment for addressing violence against women. The meeting highlighted the widespread nature of violence against women in Uganda with three out of every five Ugandan woman (15-49 years) having experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. The meeting hosted 100 participants from across different sectors including health, justice, police and NGOs. Opening the meeting, the Assistant Commissioner for Community Health ( Ministry of Health) declared commitment for strengthening the role of the health sector in prevention and provision of services to survivors of violence against women. Participants recommended the need to build technical capacity of the health sector, strengthen the health management information systems to generate better statistics, and improve coordination mechanisms. Building on these recommendations, WHO (Uganda and HQ/RHR) with the Ministry of Health are preparing for further activities to strengthen capacity for GBV prevention and response.

Collaboration with UNFPA and UN Women to agree on core elements of health services to address violence against women

November 4-8 2013

Over the course of three days – using a mix of plenary presentations, plenary discussions and small group discussions – participants reviewed the scale of adolescent pregnancy, factors contributing to it and country responses to it. Evidence of effective approaches to prevent adolescent pregnancy and to respond to it was shared, and opportunities and challenges in applying it discussed. Finally, subregional teams charted out next steps in moving the agenda forward in their countries.

UN Women, UNFPA and WHO/HRP co-hosted an expert consultation on Essential services to address violence against women in Bangkok from Nov 4-8, 2013. Approximately 15 experts involved in providing health services to survivors of violence from different settings including Jordan, Morocco, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Brazil, and Australia participated in the workshop. Using recent WHO clinical and policy guidelines on responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women (2013), the objectives of the workshop were to identify core services of the health systems that were needed to respond to the needs of women who experience intimate partner and sexual violence. Core values and principles that were identified as critical to health system essential services included: a human-rights approach; gender-responsive; and women-centred. On the basis of this meeting, WHO/HRP is developing a clinical handbook for responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women and a health systems manual for managers.