Sexual and reproductive health

Professor Marleen Temmerman

Prof. M. Temmerman

Professor Marleen Temmerman is a Belgian national who qualified as a medical doctor from Ghent University. She also holds a diploma in tropical medicine from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp; an MPh on epidemiological, statistical and operational methods applied in public health; a PhD in obstetrics and gynaecology; and a diploma in management.

After graduating and working as a gynaecologist she moved to Kenya in 1987, where she conducted research into HIV/AIDS and maternal health and was a lecturer at the University of Nairobi. In 1992 she became the first female gynaecology professor in Belgium; and two years later created the International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH), based in Ghent, Kenya and Mozambique.

In 2007 she was elected as a Senator in the Belgian Parliament where she is member of the Commission on Social Affairs and the Commission on Foreign Affairs. In that capacity she is also a member of the European Parliamentary Forum and chair of the HIV/AIDS Advisory Group of the Inter Parliamentary Union.

Professor Temmerman has always fought for improvements in health care of disadvantaged populations and for the reproductive and sexual health and rights of women. She became a champion for health care during her career—a pioneer for women’s health and one of the few clinicians who have managed to successfully combine research, medicine and politics to improve health care. She thus brings a unique blend of clinical, research and parliamentary experience to WHO.

Currently, Professor Temmerman is active in a number of fields. She is a member of the independent Expert Review Group, the principal review group on the UN Secretary-General’s Commission on Information and Accountability for Women and Children's Health; Senator in the Belgian Parliament; Director of ICRH; head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department and member of the board of directors for the Ghent University Hospital.

Author of over 400 scientific papers and 20 books in three languages, with a wealth of international experience behind her, Professor Temmerman is well placed to lead the work of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research and the UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP).

It is expected that Professor Temmerman will join the Department in mid-October 2012.