Sexual and reproductive health

Delivering contraceptive services in humanitarian settings

Woman walks out of her temporary shelter, Kathmandu, Nepal
Woman walks out of her temporary shelter, Kathmandu, Nepal

7 December 2018 ¦ WHO has launched a new tool intended for front-line health care providers to help women initiate contraception in humanitarian and emergency settings. The tool provides guidance regarding “who” can use contraceptive methods and “how” to use these methods safely and effectively. It also includes a checklist for users on how to be reasonably certain that a woman is not pregnant, as well as a clear graphic that compares the effectiveness of different contraceptive methods.

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
    The Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG) is a broad-based collaborative coalition of 20 Steering Committee member agencies – representing UN, government, non-governmental, research, and donor organizations. Formed in 1995, and currently a network of over 2,100 individual members from 450 agencies, IAWG works to advance the sexual and reproductive health of people affected by conflict and natural disaster.
  • 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.