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Globally, gynaecological health is one of the least prioritised areas of health, despite an enormous burden of morbidity and mortality. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women, with around 90% of new cases and deaths worldwide in 2020 occurring in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs)[1].

Other gynaecological conditions are particularly overlooked, despite the life-changing and often life-limiting toll they take on those affected. These conditions include endometriosis, fibroids, menstrual conditions, infertility and subfertility, urogynaecological problems and obstetric fistula, among others. 

According to our analysis of the Global Burden of Disease[2]database, nearly 8% of all years lost to disability[3] in women aged 15-49 living in LMICs were as a result of non-cancerous gynaecological conditions. The reality of this is that many women and girls are unable to enjoy their right to health. Without addressing this significant burden, global goals and targets such as the SDGs cannot be met.

Yet providing high quality training to multi-disciplinary healthcare providers is a low-cost, effective method to improve gynaecological services. Country-wide roll out of such training ensures that all health providers have the knowledge and skills to provide advice on prevention, as well as identify, treat and/or refer patients appropriately.

Through the Centre for Women’s Global Health, the RCOG is developing new partnerships to expand our programmes for sustainable improvements to gynaecological healthcare globally. And our international partnerships are leading the global call to action for policymakers, governments and NGOs to prioritise access for women and girls to high quality gynaecological services as a critical women’s rights issue.




[2] The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) database is a tool that provides a comprehensive picture of mortality and disability across countries, time, age and sex. It quantifies health loss from hundreds of diseases, injuries and risk factors, so that health systems can be improved and disparities eliminated. 

[3] YLD is a widely used measure of the burden of living with a disease or disability in years, i.e. the disease morbidity. It is a component of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), where DALYs are the sum of years of potential life lost due to premature mortality and years of productive life lost due to disability. DALYs measure mortality and morbidity whereas YLD measure morbidity alone. YLD are calculated by multiplying the disorder prevalence by the short- or long-term loss of health associated with that disability (disability weight) in a given population.