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RCOG press release: RCOG enters a new chapter in global health with launch of five-year strategy

News 24 October 2013

A new Global Health Strategy, aimed at improving the life chances of women and their babies in under-resourced countries, will be launched by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) today in the House of Lords.

With an estimated 2.6 million stillbirths, 3.1 million neonatal deaths, 360,000 maternal deaths and 275,000 deaths from cervical cancer occurring globally each year, many of which are avoidable, there is clearly an unmet need in women’s health.

To address this, the RCOG plans to use its extensive global reach to actively provide a distinct global health package of training and capacity-building services through a wider range of activity and collaborative working internationally.

The five-year strategy (2013-17) focuses on the College’s key strengths in standard setting, education and training, setting objectives and outcome measures to ensure that investment in global health initiatives will have a lasting impact on women’s health in the countries most in need.

The new service packages will concentrate on:

  • Assistance for developing courses and modules in education, to ensure all women have access to trained O&G specialists no matter where they live.
  • More volunteers and volunteering support through our partnerships with professional societies and the international volunteering organisation VSO.
  • Essential care packages to improve technology, equipment and supplies in resource-poor settings.

The key activity areas will continue to focus on those indentified in highest need of O&G care including Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe, however there will be changes in activity over the next few years that reflect the College’s developing work with countries like China and the Gulf states.

Along with the outlined promises for change, the strategy includes an assessment toolkit with outcome measures that will aid the College in monitoring and reviewing its approach to ensure resources are continually providing the best possible service for the need of each country.

Dr Paul Fogarty, RCOG Senior Vice President (Global Health), said:

“The standards and guidelines that we have developed, and the quality of our training, have helped transform women’s health care in the UK. This strategy aims to raise awareness of what the RCOG has to offer in terms of improving the quality of women’s health care around the world.

“Through a more proactive and coordinated approach, collaborating with other international health partners, the RCOG will use its expertise to develop a distinct global health package of services that can be adapted to suit any local setting.

“Our Global Health Strategy is ambitious but achievable. Ensuring that women and girls have access to the same standard and the same quality of care, everywhere, is fundamental to change health outcomes worldwide.”

Baroness Jenny Tonge, Chair UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health, said:

"In the UK we are fortunate to have immediate and effective health care and often take this for granted.

“In other countries, not just developing countries, women have little or no assistance when giving birth, and little education or knowledge to help themselves. The consequences for them are often dire, with high rates of death and morbidity.

“We are proud as a group to support this new strategy, from the RCOG, to take active steps to implement health initiatives and education programmes. This will increase access to and improve reproductive and sexual health programmes worldwide."

Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-Chair UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health, added:

“As health and healthcare around the world becomes ever more interconnected, it is vital that our leading institutions look beyond our borders to support, train and learn from partners abroad.

“For many years now the RCOG has demonstrated the value of collaboration and international networks. This strategy takes their work to the next level and will I’m sure result in many more women around the world having better access to the safe, effective care they so critically need.”

Ends

For further information, please contact the RCOG Media and PR team on +44 20 7772 6300 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk

Notes

Follow live updates from the launch via Twitter @RCObsGyn

For more information video commentary from our experts visit our Global Health Strategy webpage and show your support for women’s health by signing up to our Picbadges campaign