Improving sexual and reproductive health and implementing Health 2020


The 7th meeting of the WHO European Regional Advisory Panel (RAP) on Research and Training in Reproductive Health took place in the UN City in Copenhagen, 21–22 May 2013. RAP members and partners representing the UN family, non-governmental organizations and professional societies were informed by the WHO secretariat representing Reproductive Health and Research/Human Reproduction Programme in the WHO headquarters and many programmes of WHO/Europe on the progress in implementation of Health 2020 and other strategies and action plans approved by the WHO European Regional Committee. 
Dr Gauden Galea, Director of Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Life-course emphasized in his opening speech “Despite progress in improving universal access to reproductive health and decreasing maternal and perinatal mortality rates, health-related Millennium Development Goals and advancing universal health coverage remain among health priorities for 2014-2019.”

For the first time RAP members had an opportunity to “get out” the area of sexual and reproductive health and discuss the best ways on improving health using a life-course approach and linking such programmes as gender and human rights, health information, vaccines, nutrition, smoking, alcohol use, violence prevention and others while further promoting collaboration with HIV/ STI/ Viral Hepatitis Program. The European Region has the lowest percentage of infants breastfed till 6 months in the world – this is just one of examples were much more should be done.

RAP members and partners made recommendations on:

  • Strategic planning in 2014-2015;
  • Research in sexual and reproductive health;
  • Research and technical capacity strengthening;
  • Technical support, and
  • Information dissemination and coordination.

WHO thanked  Babill Stray-Pedersen, Soley Bender and  Gian Paolo Chiaffoni for their support and advice during the last six years and expressed hope that they will continue to be WHO experts and participate in the WHO activities. The new RAP members – Mihai Horga and Daiva Vaitkiene were welcomed by all participants of the meeting.

 Recommendations of the RAP meeting will guide the work of the WHO in the closest future as well as in planning the best way of assisting countries in 2014–15.