FIGO World Congress 2012: Partnering with Professional Associations
Last week, I joined over 8,000 obstetricians/gynecologists, midwives, public health practitioners, and women’s health advocates, as they gathered for the 20th World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics on the outskirts of Rome, Italy. Convened by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the meeting focused on the vital role health professionals and health professional organizations can play in advancing women’s health and well-being, especially during pregnancy and childbirth.
At a press conference on the first day of the conference, Professor Gamal Serour, outgoing President of FIGO, noted that “Professional organizations can do a tremendous amount… from influencing policy decision-making to raising awareness of issues and their solutions, to setting standards, to educating and training healthcare professionals and providers.”
The FIGO World Congress included the global premier of a short film, “Why Did Mrs X Die, Retold.” Originally released in 1987 by the World Health Organization at the first global safe motherhood conference, “Mrs. X” told the story of a woman’s journey through pregnancy and childbirth, and the many cultural, social, and economic factors which contributed to her death. “Why Did Mrs. X Die, Retold” updates the story and shows that many of the factors which contributed to maternal mortality 25 years ago are unfortunately still causing maternal deaths today. The updated animated short film is compelling and worth watching, it can be viewed here.
Also during the World Congress, the World Health Organization (WHO) and FIGO launched updated, evidence-based guidelines and clinical recommendations for the prevention and management of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), the major cause of maternal deaths worldwide. The new WHO guidelines include the recommendation for lay health workers to administer misoprostol after childbirth for prevention of PPH. FIGO issued new clinical recommendations for dosing, route of administration, and contra-indications for misoprostol’s use in PPH prevention and treatment.
Throughout the conference, the importance of partnership, with other health professionals such as midwives, and across sectors, was underscored: “We can’t do it alone,” said Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, the incoming President of FIGO. He called for support from advocacy groups to intensify global efforts toward achievement of Millennium Development Goals 4 (reduce child mortality) and 5 (improve maternal health).
To learn about how FCI works with partners to help achieve MDGs 4 and 5, visit FCI’s home page.