Sexual and reproductive health

Opportunities to help safeguard sexual and reproductive health and rights in emergencies

Women and children returning to North Darfur after nine years spent in displacement camps.
United Nations

2 May 2016 -- A new commentary highlights the urgent need to answer to the specific sexual and reproductive health needs of girls and women living in emergency situations. Published in the May 2016 issue of the WHO Bulletin, which focuses on the implementation of the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' health, the commentary also underlines the opportunities for political commitment at the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit.

Emergency situations

Field hospital maternity ward in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
WHO/PAHO/Victor Ariscain

Sexual and reproductive health care should be available in emergency situations and be based on the needs and expressed demands of refugees, particularly women, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of the refugees while also conforming with universally recognised international human rights.


Useful links

  • Inter-agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises
    Formerly the Inter-agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Refugee Situations, the IAWG was formed in 1995 to promote access to quality reproductive health care for refugee women and others affected by armed conflict. It was originally comprised of over 30 groups, including UN agencies, universities, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and was led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations population Fund (UNFPA).
  • Sexual violence in conflict
    The sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated against women in conflict and humanitarian settings is increasingly being reported and documented.
  • Stop rape now
    UN action against sexual violence in conflict
  • Health Action in Crises
    WHO and Inter-agency news, guidelines, agreements and other key information on health action in crises.