9 October 2019 | New evidence from a WHO-led study in four countries shows that more than one-third of women experienced mistreatment during childbirth in health facilities. The study, carried out in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria showed that women were at the highest risk of experiencing physical and verbal abuse between 30 minutes before birth until 15 minutes after birth. Younger, less-educated women were most at risk, suggesting inequalities in how women are treated during childbirth. Addressing these inequalities and promoting respectful maternity care for all women is critical to improve health equity and quality.
19 September 2019 | A new report on maternal mortality, released today by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division, estimates a worldwide number of 295 000 maternal deaths in 2017. This figure represents a 38% reduction since the year 2000 an average reduction of just under 3% per year. For women, this means that the global lifetime risk of maternal mortality – the risk that a 15-year old girl will die eventually from a maternal cause –was approximately 1 in 190 for 2017, nearly half of the level of risk in 2000.
4 September 2019 | Today is World Sexual Health Day and the theme for 2019 is comprehensive sexuality education (CSE). In addition Sexual health is fundamental to the overall health and well-being of individuals, couples and families, aiding the social and economic development of communities and countries. This includes young people who need comprehensive sexuality education to ensure they are able to enjoy good sexual and reproductive health throughout their lives. In addition to supporting the global calls for improved provision of CSE, WHO is also using World Sexual Health Day to call for feedback from the global community to develop a standard, globally recognised instrument that can measure sexual practices, behaviours and sexual health related outcomes.
11 October 2019 | Since 2012, the 11th of October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl. The day aims to highlight the needs and problems of girls, and to call for efforts to meet their needs and fulfil their rights, in partnership with them. This year’s theme - GirlForce: Unscripted and unstoppable – celebrates the changes that are occurring in girls’ lives worldwide. Today, as we near the end of the second decade of the 21st century, more girls are joining and completing their schooling, fewer are getting married, and fewer are becoming mothers whilst they are still children. Increasingly, girls are informing and organizing themselves to find and implement solutions to the problems they face.
29 August 2019 | WHO has changed its recommendations for progestogen-only injectables and intrauterine devices (IUDs) for women at high risk of HIV from a Category 2 to a Category 1. Additional clarifications are provided for the IUD recommendation.
12 August 2019 | The theme of International Youth Day 2019 is "Transforming Education", highlighting the need to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all young people. Education is essential to prepare children and young people for their lives. It is also pivotal to good health, gender equality, peace and security.
24 June 2019 | At least 400 million people worldwide lack access to the most essential health services. By 2035, there will be an estimated shortage of nearly 13 million healthcare workers. Around 1 in 5 of the world’s population will be living in settings that are experiencing humanitarian crises.
At the same time, new diagnostics, devices, drugs and digital innovations are transforming how people interact with the health sector.
In response to this, WHO launched its first guideline on self-care interventions for health, with a focus in this first volume on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Some of the interventions include self-sampling for HPV and sexually transmitted infections, self-injectable contraceptives, home-based ovulation predictor kits, HIV self-testing and self-management of medical abortion.
25 June 2019 | Information is essential for change, but in settings where information is not readily available, epidemiological research becomes one of the most powerful sources of information for change. A supplement by the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG) titled “Application of maternal near-miss approach to audits of severe maternal complications in a low-resource country” reinforces this message.
Nearly 100% of global maternal deaths occur in developing countries with more than half of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and almost one third happening in South Asia. More than half of maternal deaths occur in fragile and humanitarian settings.
13 June 2019 – A large clinical research study conducted in four African countries found no significant difference in risk of HIV infection among women using one of three highly effective, reversible contraceptive methods. Published today in the Lancet, the study showed that each method had high levels of safety and effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, with all methods well-accepted by the women using them.
6 June 2019 – Published online by the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, the research shows that among men and women aged 15–49 years, there were 127 million new cases of chlamydia in 2016, 87 million of gonorrhoea, 6.3 million of syphilis and 156 million of trichomoniasis. These STIs have a profound impact on the health of adults and children worldwide. If untreated, they can lead to serious and chronic health effects that include neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, and increased risk of HIV. They are also associated with significant levels of stigma and domestic violence.
29 May 2019 | WHO with UNWomen, together with OHCHR, UNFPA, UNODC, UNDP, UKaid, USAID, SIDA, the government the Netherlands, and the World Bank Group, have developed RESPECT women: Preventing violence against women. The framework contains a set of action-oriented steps that enables policymakers and health implementers to design, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate interventions and programmes using seven strategies to prevent VAW. The strategies are summarized in RESPECT, with each letter representing one strategy.
WHO releases the first integrated progress report on HIV, hepatitis and STIs
23 May 2019 – The new progress report being released today at the 72nd World Health Assembly reviews success and challenges in implementing the global health sector strategies, 2016-2021 on HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The report also outlines 8 joint actions for accelerating progress towards universal health coverage.
WHO releases first guideline on digital health interventions
17 April 2019 | WHO today released new recommendations on 10 ways that countries can use digital health technology, accessible via mobile phones, tablets and computers, to improve people’s health and essential services. WHO systematically reviewed evidence on digital technologies and consulted with experts from around the world to produce recommendations on 10 different ways that digital technologies may be used for maximum impact on health systems.
2 April 2019 | A new supplement supported by UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme – HRP and published by the BMJ looks at issues of self-care interventions for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The special supplement includes a collection of analyses, systematic reviews and opinion pieces, providing an evidence base for the development of global normative guidance.
28 March 2019 | Maternal deaths following caesarean sections in low- and middle-income countries are 100 times higher than in high-income countries, with up to a third of all babies dying, according to data from 12 million pregnancies. A new review, published in The Lancet, has considered 196 studies from 67 low- and middle-income countries.
19 March 2019 | A new Cochrane qualitative evidence synthesis provides new key insights into the experience of women, families and healthcare providers on having a companion present during labour and childbirth, and factors affecting implementation of labour companionship globally. This new review complements a Cochrane intervention review published in 2017 that explored the effect of continuous support for women during childbirth and which concluded that outcomes for women and babies were improved in the presence of continuous support.
8 March 2019, International Women’s Day
8 Mars 2019 | The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter. One area in which balance has yet to be achieved is that of science. Whilst there have been many famous women scientists throughout history, in the 21st century, women continue to be under-represented in many regions. On this year’s International Women’s Day, WHO is celebrating some of the women in science and health through the ages and the Human Reproduction Programme is particularly highlighting our very own Dr Katherine Ba-Thike who worked for WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research from 2003-2011, and who sadly passed away recently.
9 January 2019 | WHO has today launched new guidance, Medical management of abortion. These new guidelines provide healthcare workers with evidence-based recommendations to help ensure high-quality healthcare for all pregnant individuals who seek a medical abortion.
Publications and tools
- WHO guidelines for the use of thermal ablation for cervical pre-cancer lesions
- The project has ended but we can still learn from it! Practical guidance for conducting post-project evaluations of adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights projects
Maternal mortality: Levels and trends
- Global Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis Initiative
- Postpartum Family Planning Compendium
- Global Abortion Policies Database
- Access all the interactive tools
- Digital health
- Emergencies, crises and disasters
- Gender and rights
- Guideline development
- Mapping best practices
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Research capacity strengthening
- Self-care interventions for health
- Sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV
ICPD +25: A renewed commitment from WHO
Declaration on Universal Health Coverage under discussion at 141 meeting of Inter-Parliamentary Union
International Day of the Girl Child
WHO HRP News: Monthly electronic newsletter of new publications, research articles and events.