Sexual and reproductive health

Over a million pregnant women infected with syphilis worldwide

Finger stick testing for syphilis in a health center of Mozambique
Finger stick testing for syphilis in Mozambique

Syphilis affects large numbers of pregnant women worldwide, causing serious health problems and even death to their babies. One study estimates the percentage of pregnant women tested for syphilis and adequately treated, ranges from 30% for Africa and the Mediterranean region to 70% for Europe. Another study suggests that, unless testing and treatment of syphilis in pregnancy are universally available, over half of pregnancies in women with syphilis will result in an adverse outcome.

WHO country data on sexually transmitted infections

For the first time, country-level STI data are available through the WHO Global Health Observatory. This data are reported by countries to WHO. Currently available indicators include testing of antenatal care attendees for syphilis (coverage and positivity), syphilis positivity in men who have sex with men (MSM), and syphilis in sex workers.

Maternal mortality dropping but still unacceptably high - new estimates

WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and The World Bank issue new global, regional and country estimates of maternal mortality. Although between 1990 and 2010, maternal mortality worldwide dropped by 47%, still every day, around 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Almost all of these deaths occur in low-resource settings. The updated estimates use available national data on maternal mortality to characterize levels and trends of maternal mortality for 180 countries. This analysis involves a larger dataset than previous rounds and updates estimates for 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010.

Born too soon: first report on preterm birth

Every year 15 million babies are born preterm (more than 1 in 10 live births); more than 1 million die due to preterm complications. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn deaths and the second leading cause of death in children under 5, after pneumonia. Two thirds of the more than 1 million babies who die annually as a result of being born too soon could be saved if current cost-effective interventions were made available to all. This first-ever report on preterm birth is a joint effort of almost 50 international, regional and national organizations, and the estimates of preterm birth levels and trends presented reflect the collaborative work of WHO/RHR/HRP, Save the Children, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Monitoring and evaluation

Health service coverage indicators

The WHO annual world health statistics include data on the following related MDG indicators:
unmet need for family planning; contraceptive prevalence; antenatal care coverage; births attended by skilled health personnel.

Universal access to reproductive health

Front cover

Case-studies from seven countries (Brazil, Cambodia, India, Morocco, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan and Zambia) illustrating application of a variety of strategies to improve access to sexual and reproductive health, lessons learnt during implementation and results achieved.