|WHO Resource Guide Introduction|
The decade following the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994 has witnessed an explosion of interest throughout the world in the design of policies and programs to implement the ICPD Programme of Action. Some countries have dramatically transformed their maternal health and family planning programs to reflect a more integrated concept of sexual and reproductive health. Others are experimenting with various approaches to delivering comprehensive services to all those who need them, including adolescents, socially marginalized groups and the poor. Still others are struggling to provide essential services in the face of almost impossible odds, including intense competition for scarce resources and soaring rates of HIV/AIDS.
The knowledge base in reproductive health programming and the identification of evidence-based "best practices" has been expanding rapidly. Yet, almost everywhere there is a gap between knowledge and practice. Essential tools and guidelines must be broadly disseminated to policy makers, program administrators and health care providers, adapted to local conditions, and implemented on a large scale if they are to have an impact on health outcomes.
At the World Health Organization (WHO), the Department of Reproductive Health and Research together with the Departments of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, Gender and Women's Health, and HIV/AIDS have published a wealth of materials on sexual and reproductive health and rights intended for a variety of audiences, including
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