Sexual and reproductive health

Meetings, conferences and events


7 December 2017: WHO HQ, Geneva, Switzerland. The health sector response to violence against women and girls

“Everybody who works in the health sector can play a part by raising their voice to advocate for an end to violence against women.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

This panel discussion, organized by HRP, highlighted the importance of strengthening health systems worldwide to prevent and better respond to women who have survived violence. WHO Assistant Director-General of family, women’s and children’s health, Dr Nono Simelela joined the ambassadors of Fiji and Sierra Leone, alongside other WHO leaders, including departmental directors and experts from across WHO. Representatives from three WHO Departments: Mental Health, Health Systems, and Reproductive Health and Research including HRP provided insights into the health impacts of violence, as well as the concrete ways in which health systems can be strengthened.

The panel highlighted the need for collaboration within the health sector to better address violence against women, as well as the importance of taking a multisectoral approach to violence characterized by collaboration across sectors. While many challenges and barriers exist, countries are making progress.

Health care providers have an important role to play in identifying women who experience violence, and in responding to them with empathy. In order for health care providers to be able to respond appropriately, health systems need to be strengthened so that women receive high-quality and respectful care. As Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO states, “We must ensure that survivors of violence receive quality health services, and are helped along the path to healing.”

September 2017: Network of sentinel centres in Latin America to give women abortion care

During September 2017, 40 sentinel centres of The Latin American Center of Perinatology, Women and Reproductive Health (CLAP) and Women in Abortion Situations (WAS) Network, a regional effort to improve women's health from 12 countries, met in Bogotá, Colombia. This network, which began in 2015, provides a space for exchanges between health professionals working in sentinel centers and allows the monitoring of indicators of the attention of Women in Situation of Abortion, determining the frequency of use of interventions based on best available evidence for the prevention and management of serious complications related to reproductive health, unsafe abortion assistance and comprehensive postabortion care.

27-28 July 2017: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Africa Regional Digital Health Inventory Meeting

WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research and HRP, in partnership with PATH, launched the Digital Health Atlas ( – a health technology registry for global good – at the Africa Regional Digital Health Inventory. In preparation for the global use of the Digital Health Atlas, representatives from seven African Ministries of Health came together at this meeting to review the Digital Health Atlas for country needs. Ministry of Health leadership will review the functionality of the Digital Health Atlas, determine necessary improvements, and establish approaches for mainstreaming use of the Digital Health Atlas at a national level and regionally. Additionally, participants included a group of regional and global digital health experts with experience in designing and deploying digital health interventions at scale.

27 July 2017: Washington DC Saving Lives at Birth annual DevelopmentxChange meeting

WHO HRP’s innovation, the Open Smart Registry Platform (OpenSRP), was shortlisted as a finalist for a transition to scale-up grant by Saving Lives at Birth. HRP research partners from the THRIVE study, including representatives from Harvard School of Public Health, Ona, and Summit Institute of Development, presented on the advancements of OpenSRP at the Saving Lives at Birth annual DevelopmentxChange meeting. Through features that include real time data sharing of health visit schedules by health workers, advanced client tracking systems, and artificial intelligence to identify at-risk clients for enhanced follow-up, the meeting highlighted OpenSRP’s role as a digital registry innovation to address care fragmentation and reduce gaps in coverage and quality of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) services.

29-30 June 2017: São Luis, Brazil. Key stakeholders and research partners meeting for the Zika virus projects on women, communities and health systems

The Brazil Stakeholders Meeting brought together the key stakeholders and research partners for the Zika virus projects on Women, Communities and Health systems. The Brazil Ministry of Health hosted this WHO-led meeting which included 36 participants including representatives from PAHO, WCO Brazil, UNFPA, UN Women, and researchers from institutions such as Anis Insititue and FIOCRUZ. Integral to the meeting were the teams from the sentinel sites of Balsas, Sao Luis, and Alagoas. The group of projects led by WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research aims to assess health units that provide contraception and post abortion care as well as the perception of users that demand these sexual and reproductive health services. In addition, sentinel surveillance sites on contraception and abortion care have been established while qualitative work will determine perceptions of the women and partners during and after the ZIKV outbreak. The meeting provided a forum of discussion on the updates and challenges in implementing the Zika research studies. In addition, the Brazil grantees for the TDR/HRP small grants proposals were in attendance and were able to provide an overview of their research projects. An important outcome from this meeting was the strengthening of the collaboration between partners for current and future reproductive health projects.

29-30 June 2017: Geneva, Switzerland. Inter-agency working group on violence against women estimation and data

Following the Expert Meeting, representatives of agencies involved in monitoring Sustainable Development Goal indicators 5.2.1 and 5.2.2 (prevalence of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence) – WHO, UNSD, UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women and UNODC – met to discuss priorities for a work plan of activities centred on monitoring of the SDG 5.2 indicators. Discussions included the establishment a Technical Advisory Group to support the work of the Interagency Working Group and provide expert guidance on technical matters related to measuring and estimating of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. In addition, agencies presented their existing databases on violence against women, and agreed upon approaches to comparing databases and ensuring consistency and comparability of data. Other proposed areas of work include development and dissemination of briefs on measurement of key topics relating to data on violence against women, such as recommendations regarding measurement of psychological violence, the intersections between measuring violence against women and violence against children, and assessing the sensitivity and specificity of crime victimization surveys to measure sexual violence and intimate partner violence. The Interagency Working Group, led by WHO, will continue to convene to support core methodological work to ensure quality reporting for Sustainable Development Goal indicators, including development of global, regional and national violence against women estimates.

For further information, please contact: Claudia Garcia-Moreno and Sarah Meyer.

29 June 2017: Washington DC, USA. ‘Galvanizing Commitment in Family Planning to Achieve Development Goals’ – First Joint IBP Consortium and High-impact Practices Partners Meeting

Practices Partners Meeting - This meeting was held to strengthen collaboration and to identify opportunities to leverage the Implementing Best Practices (IBP) and High-impact Practices (HIP) platforms more effectively to support country programs. Over 90 members representing more than 35 partner organizations attended. A Keynote address was made by Dr. Duff Gillespie from the John Hopkins School of Public Health. A panel discussion which included representatives of WHO, USAID, UNFPA, FP2020, and the Global Financing Facility (GFF), invited discussion on how to collaborate effectively, foster national and local commitment for family planning, strengthen rights-based approaches and use innovative methods to support family planning programs within a larger global development agenda. An interactive knowledge exchange and use session was organized by K4Health which focused on eight different tools/approaches. Organizations committed to use and disseminate information learned at the meeting. Two WHO publications were presented, and the event concluded with a ceremonial handover of the incoming IBP chair from PHI to IPPF.

28-30 June, Bangkok, Thailand: Second regional meeting on the UN Joint Essential Services Package for Women and Girls Subject to Violence

During the last week of June, HRP participated in the second meeting on the UN Joint Essential Services Package for Women Subject to Violence hosted by WHO, UNFPA, UNODC, and UN Women. The meeting brought together 135 representatives from ministries of health, justice, social services, gender, as well as civil society organizations and UN organizations from 12 countries from the WHO South East Asia Regional Office (Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Timor Leste, Sri Lanka and Thailand) and the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (Afghanistan, Pakistan). HRP lead the health sessions of the meeting introducing the WHO Clinical and Policy guidelines responding to intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women and the related clinical handbook, the summary of which forms the health component of the package. The country representatives developed initial sectoral as well as coordination plans for a multi-sectoral response to violence against women and girls. For further information, please contact Avni Amin at

For further information, please contact: Avni Amin .

27-30 June 2017: Geneva, Switzerland. Expert Meeting methodological and measurement issues for violence against women statistics

This Expert Meeting brought together approximately 20 experts who have been involved in measurement and methodology relevant to data on violence against women, including researchers, experts from international agencies (PAHO, UN Women, UNICEF, UNSD and UNFPA), and experts from national statistical offices. It focused on the need to improve quality and availability of data on violence against women, in light of the indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals, with particular focus on intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. The meeting also underlined the need to improve the quality and consistency of data globally to inform policy and programming to prevent and respond to violence against women. Presentations and discussions focused on challenges in data quality and availability in existing databases, efforts to improve consistency and comparability of data, methodologies for production of global, regional and national estimates on violence against women, definition and measurement of psychological violence, measurement of attitudes towards violence against women, measurement of violence against older women, and issues associated with the age overlap in measurement of violence against women and against children. The Expert Meeting provided a foundation for WHO-led activities on measurement and data, and outcomes included a list of priority research areas, including conceptual development and analysis of existing data, to improve efforts towards violence against women data collection, reporting, and use for sustainable development goal monitoring and beyond.

26-30 June 2017: Kigali, Rwanda

Eastern and Southern Africa sub-regional workshop on strengthening the antenatal care platform for the delivery of high quality pregnancy care, and improving detection and management of sexually transmitted infections

WHO, in partnership with the Global Fund, UNFPA and UNICEF, organized this meeting to bring delegations from 15 Eastern and South Africa countries together with implementing partners, donors and professional organizations. Participants learnt about the recently released WHO guidelines on antenatal care and treatment guidelines for sexually transmitted infections. Interactive sessions allowed for exchange of experiences, challenges and solutions between countries. Country roadmaps for adoption and implementation of recommendations were developed. This workshop was the third such gathering following the regional workshops in Burkina Faso (November 2016) and Georgia (April 2017).

22-23 June 2017: Geneva Switzerland. 30th meeting of the HRP Policy and Coordination Committee (PCC)

Highlights of the 30th meeting of the HRP Policy and Coordination Committee (PCC) included the panel discussions on non-state actor engagement with HRP and the launch of the Global Abortion Policies Database.

The panel session on non-state actor engagement included contributions from the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, Merck for Mothers and the Concept Foundation. The session introduced WHO/HRP’s engagement with non-state actors, highlighting HRP’s long experience of working with non-state actors, including private sector entities.

The Global Abortion Policies Database, a new, open-access database of laws, policies and health standards on abortion in countries worldwide, was launched by WHO and the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The database aims to promote greater transparency of abortion laws and policies, as well as to improve countries’ accountability for the protection of women and girls’ health and human rights.

Other highlights included an address by the WHO Director-General Elect, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – who received a standing ovation for his expression of appreciation and gratitude for the work of HRP, and specifically his belief that it is the right of every woman and girl to safe, legal, abortion services conducted by trained personnel – and presentations by Ms Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Dr Ann Biddlecom, Director of International Research with the Guttmacher Institute.

15-16 June 2017, Geneva, Switzerland: Second meeting of MONITOR advisory group

WHO Departments of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP and Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, convened the second meeting of the Mother and Newborn Information for Tracking Outcomes and Results (MONITOR) advisory group. During this meeting, the 14 members of MONITOR discussed the current situation, existing gaps and duplications in maternal and newborn health measurement with the aim to develop a roadmap for improvement. The advisory group also debated prioritization of maternal and newborn health indicators. The group suggested development of an indicator data platform which includes guidance sheets and expanded metadata for priority maternal and newborn health indicators, country case studies and development of a research agenda in relation to indicator development and testing. The recommendations of MONITOR to the WHO are important in the effort to harmonize and coordinate activities related to health indicator measurement.

31 May – 2 June 2017: Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. Regional Capacity Building Workshop

Photo of the participants

This regional capacity building workshop of countries with national policy frameworks on task sharing/shifting was organized by the WHO Regional Office for Africa in collaboration with the WHO Inter-country teams and WHO HQ. 45 participants from the 9 countries of the Ouagadougou partnership (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo) took part in the meeting. WHO will continue to assist countries in the implementation of identified priority actions in the national plans and documenting best practices and lessons learned for the provision of contraceptive services.

31 May – 1 June 2017: Geneva, Switzerland. Meeting of the Advisory Board for violence against women curricula development – strengthening the capacity of health care providers to address violence against women:

The WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP is seeking to develop model curricula to strengthen the capacity of health care providers and systems in low- and middle-income countries to respond to intimate partner and sexual violence against women. There will be two related, but distinct products:

  • A pre-service training curriculum designed for use in university level programs for health professionals (doctors, nurses, midwives, social workers and other allied professions), and guidance for integration in undergraduate curricula (core curricula, including lessons plans, facilitator guide, and evaluation toolkit)
  • An in-service training curriculum for health care providers (core curricula, including lessons plans, facilitator guide, and evaluation toolkit)

An Advisory Committee has been established to provide strategic guidance, advice and support to the design, development, and pilot testing of the training curricula. The guidance and advice of the Committee will play a critical role in assisting the WHO to ensure that the training curricula developed through this initiative responds to the needs of countries and is of the highest standard. The Committee Board, which includes ten professionals from a range of countries and disciplines, met to review the first draft of the curricula, and provided useful advice and made recommendations. The curricula will be piloted in a number of different settings and regions.

For more information, please contact Claudia Garcia-Moreno

May 2017

Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free: Ministerial Meeting

Participants at the ministerial meeting
Florence Anam, Advocacy and Communications Manager from the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW), Sheila Tlou, Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, and HE Monica Giengos, the First Lady of Namibia, hold WHO information products on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV.

24 May 2017: Geneva, Switzerland – A ministerial meeting was held by UNAIDS in Geneva, Switzerland, to report on progress on the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free framework, which was launched in 2016. The meeting was attended by Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director, Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, as in addition to 12 ministers of health from WHO AFRO region. The First Lady of Namibia, the Ministers of Health for Swaziland and Namibia, as well as Florence Anam, Advocacy and Communications Manager from the International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) made comments which highlighted the importance of sexual and reproductive health for reaching the goals and targets of this framework. In her remarks, Florence Anam spoke about the process for the development of the WHO Consolidated guideline on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living with HIV mentioning in particular how its recommendations on providing an enabling environment for girls and women are key to reaching national targets.

16-17 May 2017: Ottawa, Canada. Global Adolescent Health Conference: Unleashing the Power of a Generation.

The Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH), along with Every Woman Every Child (EWEC), the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) and the World Health Organization (WHO), hosted the Global Adolescent Health Conference: Unleashing the Power of a Generation, in Ottawa, Canada. The conference addressed timely issues and exciting solutions in adolescent health, both in Canada and internationally. It was supported by Women Deliver, the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing and youth change makers.

The gathering of 340 attendees featured keynotes by Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed, Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau, and Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan.

Four key issues were addressed: Nutrition, sexual and reproductive health and rights, mental health, and data. Each issue was discussed by a cross-section of youth voices, and included focus on gender equality and equity, implementation strategies, fragile contexts, and accountability in a number of areas, including human rights. Building on the four subject areas, the conference generated an inspirational and active discussion with clear messages for further action and reflection. Youth Voices, an initiative led by the Conference Youth Council, helped to deliver a powerful message that adolescent health is the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Every Woman Every Child Targets.

WHO’s Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!) Guidance to Support Country Implementation was officially launched at the conference along with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Women Deliver Advocating for Change for Adolescents Toolkit.

March 2017

Expert consultation on assisting girls and women who have experienced FGM

15–16 March 2017: Experts from 14 countries of the WHO European Region met at Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England, for a consultation organized by WHO. Their focus was on how best to implement available guidelines on the prevention and management of complications caused by female genital mutilation (FGM).

Building a stronger HIV prevention movement in sub-Saharan Africa

8-10 March: Namibia Wilton Park, an executive agency of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, held a three day meeting in Swakopmund to discuss building a stronger HIV prevention movement in sub-Saharan Africa. Namibian First Lady Monica Geingos and the Hon. Dr Bernard Haufiku, Minister of Health and Social Services, were joined by HIV experts from across the region, including top government officials, leading clinicians and researchers, civil society advocates and programme implementers for the event.

Namibia’s First Lady, Madame Monica Geingos, UNAIDS Special Advocate for Young Women and Adolescent Girls, spoke passionately about the need to find the places and language to engage with those at risk of HIV, the ‘BE FREE’ campaign in Namibia, and the success of developing smart partnerships for greater impact.

Participants discussed what HIV prevention efforts work best, including linking HIV prevention to sexual and reproductive interventions, and how these can be expanded and funded across sub-Saharan Africa to best meet the needs of diverse groups at high risk. The group identified opportunities to deliver prevention to key populations, to overcome existing barriers and to ensure prevention can be prioritized while treatment for HIV continues to be scaled-up.

Former Namibian Health Minister, Dr. Richard Kamwi said: “Expanding the reach of HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa is essential to global efforts to end the epidemic. Just as our region was the birthplace of the treatment access movement, so it can be the catalyst for the large-scale delivery of HIV prevention.”

Dr. Kamwi co-chaired the meeting with Sir Richard Feachem, Director of the Global Health Group at the University of California San Francisco. Sir Richard is the founding Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

February 2017

United to END FGM: launch of European Knowledge Platform for Professionals dealing with Female Genital Mutilation

6 February 2017: Rome, Italy A European region-wide web knowledge platform for professionals working with girls and women affected by or at risk of female genital mutilation was today launched in Italy on the occasion of the International Day for Female Genital Mutilation. Named ‘United to END FGM (UEFGM)’, the web knowledge platform, which was inaugurated on the 3 February in Malta, is a transnational project co-financed by the European Union, which has been realised by region-wide collaboration between civil society, academic, international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies. The Italian launch event was organized by the Associazione Italiana Donne Per Lo Sviluppo (AIDOS) and included interventions from WHO and UNHCR in addition to other partners, including the Department for Gender Opportunity within the Italian Government. WHO was represented at this event by Dr Lale Say, Coordinator of the Adolescents and At-risk Populations Team within the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP. Dr Say commented, “This knowledge platform underlines how girls and women living across the world are affected by FGM and need high-quality care from professionals who have been trained to be able to recognise, and to sensitively and effectively treat the health complications of FGM”.

The UEFGM European knowledge platform seeks to improve the public and professional knowledge on FGM to better prevent and address this specific form of violence against women and girls. The multi-language platform is designed for use by a wide range of professionals working on FGM including health professionals, asylum service staff, law enforcement and judiciary professionals, social and childcare workers, youth workers, women’s organizations, the staff of non-governmental and civil society organizations, as well as teachers, educators and media professionals.

Italy, together with the other European countries and partners, called for action to end female genital mutilation raising public awareness and political commitment in view also of the upcoming G7 led by Italy.

Technical consultation for Research on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Humanitarian Settings

1-2 February 2017: Geneva, Switzerland. To support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s principle of leaving no one behind, WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP organized a technical meeting to shape a global research agenda to generate evidence for ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings – crucial for the estimated 26 million women and girls of reproductive age living in such settings. More than 50 experts came together to identify evidence gaps; to share challenges in data collection and research in such settings; to discuss ways to adapt and implement WHO guidelines on sexual and reproductive health to humanitarian settings; and to launch a ‘research to action’ consortium dedicated to improving the generation and use of rigorous evidence to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and rights in humanitarian settings.