For over 60 years, FIGO has collaborated with the world's top health bodies to work towards the improvement of women's health globally.
FIGO is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), and attending the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, 20th - 28th May, 2019.
Read our statement on the Director-General's report on the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016–2030).
As a Member of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) Board, member of the Quality of Care Network established in 2017 by WHO and UNICEF for improving the quality of maternal, newborn and child health services, and a commitment-maker to Every Woman Every Child, FIGO welcomes the Director-General’s report on the Global Strategy.
The single report is a clarifying opportunity to assess successes, challenges and activities in the areas of women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. It is clear that while there are reasons to celebrate, we cannot rest while women around the world continue to die from preventable conditions, including 303,000 maternal deaths annually.
We welcome action and commitments on three critical areas addressed in the report:
- improvements in the quality of care, especially access to high-quality antenatal care services and skilled health professionals during pregnancy and postnatal
- achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
- strengthening the collection and analysis of data at country level, which must be gender-disaggregated wherever possible.
FIGO celebrates the report’s attention to health challenges across the life course. These include cervical cancer, health in humanitarian settings particularly SRHR, and the risk to mental, physical and sexual and reproductive health from violence against women including FGM/C.
However we are extremely troubled by findings from the WHO-coordinated Alliance for Maternal and Newborn Health Improvement mortality study, which shows that a larger proportion of deaths in low-resource settings occurred during labour, delivery and the subsequent 24 hours, than had been previously estimated. With 90 percent of stillbirths related to maternal health, highlighting the importance of woman-centred care through a human rights-based approach must go hand-in-hand with supporting countries to increase their investments.
It is encouraging to see recognition that lack of access to contraception for women in low-resource settings hinders their ability to thrive and transform, but FIGO goes further in noting that it is in fact life-threatening. Access to modern contraception is a critical strategy for reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, one component of a broader package of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
FIGO affirms the Director-General’s insistence that universal health coverage (UHC) is crucial for accelerating progress in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. However we are disappointed to see no mention of the importance of women’s role in the design and delivery of UHC. Women have specific health needs that must be addressed, and universal access to SRHR is fundamental.
Uniting OBYGNs in a vision of health and wellbeing aligned to the Global Strategy, FIGO, with our 132 National Member Societies, commits to working with WHO and within the Every Woman Every Child architecture to deliver on targets. Slow progress across multiple Sustainable Development Goals continues to adversely affect the health of women, children and adolescents, and only through partnership can we ensure all women, children and adolescents not only survive, but thrive.