Sexual and reproductive health

Making childbirth a positive experience

Parents with their newborn baby, Malaysia.
WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

15 February 2018: Launch of new WHO guideline on intrapartum care - Worldwide, about 140 million women give birth every year. Whilst much is known about the clinical management of labour and childbirth less attention is paid to what, beyond clinical interventions, needs to be done to make women feel safe, comfortable and positive about the experience. A new WHO guideline, launched today, contains 56 evidence-based recommendations detailing both the clinical and non-clinical care that is needed throughout labour and immediately afterwards for women and for newborns. One of the key recommendations in this guideline recognizes that every birth is unique, while some labours progress quickly, others don’t and unnecessary medical interventions should be avoided if the woman and her baby are in good condition.

Updated and expanded guidance for family planning providers worldwide

Woman receiving family planning counselling, Senegal.
Jonathan Torgovnik

13 February 2018: Crucial to the success of family planning efforts worldwide is a well-educated and trained health workforce, and for whom, this new edition of Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers, commonly known as the FP Global Handbook has been published today.

Working to end myths and misconceptions about female genital mutilation

A woman social worker (centre) speaks about the dangers of FGM to a girl and her mother at their home, Egypt
UNICEF/Pirozzi
A woman social worker (centre) speaks about the dangers of FGM to a girl and her mother at their home, Egypt

6 February 2018: Today WHO joins individuals, organizations and UN partners worldwide in marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. Despite this, a number of myths and misconceptions about FGM persist, which support the perpetuation of this harmful practice.

Short period of postoperative bladder catheterization effective for repair of simple urinary fistula

Women at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, Ethiopia.
Kate Holt / AusAID
Hamlin Fistula Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

11 January 2018: As part of the World Health Organization’s normative work on supporting evidence-informed policies and practices, the Department of Reproductive Health and Research has produced, as a first step, a new guideline that defines the length of time required for effective catheterization after the surgical repair of simple obstetric urinary fistula as a period of 7–10 days. It is an intervention that can be implemented by any appropriately trained surgeon, including one with less experience, and it has direct health and cost implications in low- and middle-income countries.

Young people need good-quality comprehensive Sexuality Education

Image of guideline front cover

10 January 2018 | The fully revised UN International technical guidance on sexuality education advocates for quality comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) to promote health and well-being, respect for human rights and gender equality, and empowers children and young people to lead healthy, safe and productive lives.

Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections
A WHO-sponsored Collection in PLOS Medicine

27 December 2017 | A collection of freely-available journal articles has been published in PLOS that looks at current issues around the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs are common, diverse and dangerous. Some are easily treated if diagnosed, others, such as HIV have no cure and may be life threatening, and there are also new and emerging infections that can be transmitted sexually such as the Ebola and Zika viruses.

Engaging with communities is crucial for improving quality of care during childbirth

Patients at the maternity ward of Reproductive Health Uganda's clinic in Mbale.
Jonathan Torgovnik

15 December 2017 | High-quality care for women giving birth in health facilities is crucial for safeguarding their health and well-being. Health care that is based on good quality scientific evidence goes a long way in helping to ensure such high-quality care – but it does not go far enough. The authors of a special supplement highlight how from the perspectives of individuals, their families and communities, high-quality care is that which is delivered with respect, with skill, and in accordance with their needs and preferences.

Six Caribbean islands eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis

Photo

1 December 2017 | Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis today received a certificate from the World Health Organization (WHO) that validates their elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

The Robson classification implementation manual

30 November 2017: In 2015, WHO proposed the use of the Robson classification (also known as the 10-group classification) as a global standard for assessing, monitoring and comparing caesarean section rates both within healthcare facilities and between them. The system classifies all women into one of 10 categories that are mutually exclusive and, as a set, totally comprehensive. The categories are based on 5 basic obstetric characteristics that are routinely collected in all maternities (parity, number of foetuses, previous caesarean section, onset of labour, gestational age, and fetal presentation).

Research

ZIKA

Zika virus and complications: Questions and answers

The risk of babies born with microcephaly has raised understandable concerns among women including those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. There are many unknowns regarding the possible causes of microcephaly.

Commentary

Statements

In the changing landscape of sexual and reproductive health and rights, research and evidence needs to be heard

The promotion, protection and fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights

  • Read Statement
    Statement by the HRP Scientific Technical and Advisory Group and the Gender and rights Advisory Panel

Partnerships and initiatives

African woman with her two children.

Reproductive Health Library (RHL)

RHL takes the best available evidence on sexual and reproductive health from Cochrane systematic reviews and presents it as practical actions for clinicians (and policy-makers) to improve health outcomes, especially in developing countries.

VIDEO

WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus has recorded a special video message to call for greater measures to be taken to improve recognition, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis, and particularly maternal and neonatal sepsis.

Search WHO guidelines on sexual and reproductive health

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