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A letter from Sussex Place, March 2014

Ian Currie, RCOG Vice President, UK Affairs writes....

As you are well aware our RCOG World Congress 2014 took place in Hyderabad this weekend. The event attracted a record number of over 3,000 delegates both RCOG members and non-members, all dedicated to bettering women’s health around the world.

This year’s Congress showcased the latest developments and research in our discipline. Themes included; reproductive health, fertility, maternal and fetal medicine, labour and oncology with a focus on the big health challenges facing women in Asia, particularly family planning, contraception and cervical cancer. There were also some excellent pre-congress workshops.

Aptly our host, India, with an estimated population of over 1.27 billion, is the second most populous country in the world is continuing to grow with approximately 51 babies born every minute, equating to 26 million births per year!

Women in India also face a multitude of health problems and addressing gender, class and ethnic disparities to improve health outcomes is a major challenge given the size of the country and its ever increasing population.

Some of the biggest challenges in India include; access to contraception (contraceptive rates are currently below 50%), maternal mortality, non communicative diseases, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke risk. Female feticide also remains a significant problem.

The RCOG with its new Global Health Strategy is well placed to make a lasting improvement to women’s health in India, especially considering over 1,000 of our Fellows, Members and Trainees reside within the country. It is our role to continue to strengthen collaboration between India and the UK and advocate for the promotion of rights and health of women.

I would also like to bring to your attention the work of the RCOG All India Coordinating Committee (AICC), the South Asia Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (SAFOG), the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) and the National Association for Reproductive and Child Health (NARCHI) and their contribution to promoting women’s health in India.

We have seen the implementation of various successful volunteering initiatives in rural areas, the printing of RCOG books to improve education for healthcare professionals, not to mention the ongoing work to reduce the Maternal Mortality Ratio in India, which has now reduced from 230 in 2000 to 200 in 2008. We are still striving towards achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 and without the dedication of our partners and continued joint-working this would be impossible.

Lastly I would like to pay tribute this month to all those who were involved in the delivery of the Congress, one of our biggest and most successful conferences yet.

For highlights from Congress, please do follow our Storify page, a live feed containing videos, news, photos and social media updates. You can also follow the Congress on Twitter using #RCOG2014.