Sexual and reproductive health

Measuring and monitoring

Local health officials conduct a verbal autopsy of a death of a mother after she gave birth.
Local health officials conduct a verbal autopsy of a woman who died shortly after the delivery of her baby

Monitoring and evaluation are critical in understanding the impact of programmes, policies, and interventions and tracking progress of health outcomes, especially in the area of sexual and reproductive health (SRH). As such, WHO helps develop reporting standards that determine “how” to measure SRH outcomes and conducts research with partners to understand how best to collect, analyze, and interpret information related to SRH.

New global estimates on preterm birth published

Woman with her prematurely baby at a neonatal intensive care unit, Croatia.

November 2018: New global estimates show that in 2014, approximately 10.6% of all live births globally were preterm. Published in the journal The Lancet Global Health, and co-authored by WHO and HRP staff, the study underlines the crucial need to safeguard the health and well-being of all women and girls, and their babies, throughout life – including through ensuring access to high quality and respectful healthcare services.

New series published to support the use of qualitative research in decision-making

Health care workers reviewing files together.
HRP/Mark Leong

25 January 2018: In recognition of the need to guide researchers in combining and analysing findings from qualitative evidence syntheses, a series of ‘how-to’ papers about applying a new methodology for qualitative evidence syntheses, has been published in the journal Implementation Science.

Uncovering the true burden of health complications experienced by women: special supplement to IJGO published

An older woman with a young girl in Atapeu province, Laos.
Phong Tran/Photoshare

24 May 2018 | It is unacceptable that so many women and girls continue to die from often preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Also unacceptable however, and much less recognised, is the burden of diverse complications – or maternal morbidity – which women and girls face during and following pregnancy and childbirth, which can have severe implications for well-being throughout life.

Forging a consensus on ending preventable maternal mortality

An indigenous Mayan woman cradles her newborn son in a maternity ward, Guatemala

In April 2014, United Nations agencies, donors, country stakeholders and other development partners met in Bangkok, Thailand for a “Consultation on targets and strategies for ending preventable maternal mortality (EPMM)”. The discussions were the culmination of earlier technical consultations that employed specific analytical methods to define feasible maternal mortality targets. The EPMM Working Group is now inviting comments on the draft paper “Strategies toward ending preventable maternal mortality”.

Over a million pregnant women infected with syphilis worldwide

Finger stick testing for syphilis in a health center of Mozambique
Finger stick testing for syphilis in Mozambique

Syphilis affects large numbers of pregnant women worldwide, causing serious health problems and even death to their babies. One study estimates the percentage of pregnant women tested for syphilis and adequately treated, ranges from 30% for Africa and the Mediterranean region to 70% for Europe. Another study suggests that, unless testing and treatment of syphilis in pregnancy are universally available, over half of pregnancies in women with syphilis will result in an adverse outcome.

WHO country data on sexually transmitted infections

For the first time, country-level STI data are available through the WHO Global Health Observatory. This data are reported by countries to WHO. Currently available indicators include testing of antenatal care attendees for syphilis (coverage and positivity), syphilis positivity in men who have sex with men (MSM), and syphilis in sex workers.