WHO and CLAP discuss South-South cooperation on sexual and reproductive health issues

delegación OMS y equipo CLAP en sede del CLAP

Montevideo. March 22, 2023. On 17 and 18 March, the Latin American Centre for Perinatology - Women's Health and Reproductive Health (CLAP/WR), received at its headquarters in Uruguay the director of the Human Reproduction Programme (HRP) of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Pascale Allotey; the head of the HRP Secretariat, Craig Lissner; and the WHO advisor on Gender Equality, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Anna Coates.

During the visit, six countries of the region presented to the WHO authorities multiple experiences in the implementation of different strategic lines promoted by CLAP/WR and the impact they have had in their territories. 

Among the best practices presented were the development of the Zero maternal deaths from haemorrhage initiative in Brazil; the use of community perinatal technologies to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality and the experience of workshops for trainers together with the Chilean School of Midwives; the development of SIP violence in Trinidad and Tobago; the development and implementation of the eCBB application to provide information on newborn care to families and health personnel that was developed with the Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires, Argentina; the project to evaluate the health care of transgender people in prison in Chile; the surveillance of extreme maternal morbidity (near miss) in Colombia; the training in post-obstetric event contraception (AIPEO) in Bolivia; the telemedicine project to improve the quality of prenatal care in areas where there are barriers to access to health services in Honduras; and the experience of the MUSA network, which connects centres in several countries in the region where women in situations of abortion are assisted.  In addition, Argentina, Bahamas, Nicaragua and Uruguay presented the functioning, potential and experience with the Perinatal Information System (SIP).

For her part, the director of HRP spoke about the work being done in key areas related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. In particular, she referred to the three pillars that underpin this work: generating evidence, strengthening health systems and having a positive impact on people's lives. Dr. Pascale showed several examples of the work being done and highlighted, among others, the importance of people-centred communication and training. In this regard, she said that dialogue with all parties is essential because "sexual and reproductive health and rights remain a sensitive issue in many countries and therefore we need to be aware of the realities in order to act accordingly and promote the well-being and health of all".

The head of the HRP Secretariat presented an overview of the background of the institution, up to its current structure and functioning. It is worth remembering that the WHO is the executing agency, but that UNFPA, UNDP, the World Bank and UNICEF are members of HRP.  In relation to the visit to CLAP, he considered that "It has been an opportunity to find areas of mutual interest and to identify areas of work that are important for the countries. We will continue to work together on the needs that exist".

The WHO Advisor on Gender Equality, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Anna Coates, said that it is important that there is greater awareness of the work of CLAP/WR. "We need to take these experiences to other countries globally so that there is learning from the CLAP experience," she said.  

Marcos Espinal, current director of Family, Health Promotion and Life Course (FPL) of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), emphasised the relevance of this type of exchange and pointed out that "they are opportunities for knowledge and learning for all parties".

Finally, the director of CLAP/WR, Suzanne Serruya said that "it was a very productive meeting that allows us to continue deepening institutional links to better advance in the fulfilment of the goals related to sexual and reproductive health and rights of all people".

Equipo OMS y CLAP trabajando