WHO Resource Guide Introduction Print E-mail


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

  • policy makers in international agencies, government ministries of health, development organizations, NGOs, and other institutions;
  • program administrators in public and private hospitals, clinics or health posts and in national or district-level health systems;
  • providers of sexual and reproductive health care such as physicians, nurses, midwives, family planning practitioners, counselors and community workers;
  • teaching faculty, trainers and students in sexual and reproductive health care;
  • researchers in biomedical, health and social sciences;
  • organizations and individuals such as women's health activists, legislators, attorneys, social workers, women's associations, and other groups.

How to Use This Guide

From this wealth of work the International Women's Health Coalition has selected key materials on sexual and reproductive health and has grouped them into specific thematic areas such as pregnancy, childbirth and newborn health; family planning; and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS. For ease of use, materials on each topic are divided into three categories: (1) research and data; (2) guidelines for providers; and (3) policies and strategic plans. All publications mentioned are listed in the Appendix with ordering information. Most of WHO's materials are available free to users in developing countries and many can be downloaded from the web. We urge you to obtain copies for your organization, to share them with colleagues, and to promote their adaptation and use for research, program design and policy guidance in your country.

Tag it:
Furl it!

International Women's Health Coalition
333 Seventh Avenue, 6th Floor | New York, NY 10001 USA
212.979.8500 | info@iwhc.org