Sexual and reproductive health

XX FIGO World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics


The FIGO World Congress was held in Rome, Italy 7th -12th October 2012. More than 8000 participants attended the meeting and RHR/HRP made significant contributions to the scientific programme.

A special plenary session celebrated the 40th anniversary of HRP*. HRP Director Dr Michael Mbvizo chaired the a panel of international experts who highlighted major past achievements and new activities of the programme in family planning, maternal and perinatal health, prevention of unsafe abortion, violence against women and control and prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

Pre-congress courses organized in collaboration with RHR/HRP were very well attended and covered hot topics such as ethical guidelines on sterilization, unmet needs for family planning, integration of cervical cancer programs in HIV/AIDS services, prevention of unsafe abortion, and the emerging global epidemics of obesity and gestational diabetes and infertility treatment in low income settings.

WHO booth At FIGO 2012, Rome
WHO booth At FIGO 2012, Rome

New products that attracted special attention

The new WHO Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) recommendations which were presented and discussed at a session that included the FIGO guidelines on PPH and other technical presentations on misoprostol use for PPH management. In this context the presentation of the results of the recently published WHO trial on active management of the third stage of labour with and without controlled cord traction received considerable attention.

The recently released WHO Recommendations for optimizing health worker roles to improve access to key maternal and newborn health interventions through task-shifting (Optimize4MNH) that were presented at a session organized by the WHO Africa Regional Office which generated widespread positive interest.

The newly revised guidelines Safe Abortion: technical and policy guidance for the health system were the focus of a very well attended session on wwomen’s health, human right and abortion.

The Family Planning Training Resource Package that was presented at a session jointly organized with UNFPA.

The WHO investment case for dual elimination of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV and syphilis that was the topic of a very interactive symposium which was enriched by contribution highlighting successful experiences in China and Sub-Saharan Africa.

RHR/HRP innovations that were presented as free communications and attracted considerable attention among the Congress participants included the mobile phone applications for medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use and the Odon device for assisted vaginal delivery.

RHR/HRP products were available throughout the week at a stand in the exhibition hall that was very-well received and attracted a large number of visitors. During the congress there was high demand for products and for information about RHR/HRP work. It was a key opportunity to distribute recent publications such as hot-off-the-press guidelines, estimates, tools and policy briefs. Additionally a thousand copies of a CD containing the entire collection of publications on sexual and reproductive health were distributed. The stand also served as a meeting place for staff to meet and interact with delegates and to highlight new activities and products.

In the weeks following the congress, RHR/HRP received many congratulatory messages highlighting the quality and significance of its contribution to the FIGO Congress. We thank all partners and collaborators who contributed to this successful experience and we look forward to the 2015 FIGO congress in Vancouver, Canada.

* UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP)


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HRP: 40 years of achievement

HRP Policy and Coordination Committee

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    Includes United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon address to the 25th meeting of the HRP Policy and Coordination Committee (PCC), June 2012

WHO Reproductive Health Library

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.