International Women’s Health Program:
Delivering a Better World
Life may be a miracle but birth needs a helping hand. The International Women’s Health Program (IWHP) at the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada is working towards a better world for women. Using a rights-based approach, the IWHP promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights, including safe motherhood and newborn health.
At the IWHP we use various strategies to achieve this goal:
Professional Capacity Building
Through programs like the ALARM International Program, the IWHP works with professional associations and health practitioners in developing countries to upgrade the capacity of health systems to deliver emergency obstetric care, improve the provision of maternal health care through the use of maternal death reviews, and promote sexual and reproductive rights. Working alongside partner OB/GYN associations, SOGC members volunteer their time as course instructors in the country of delivery.
The IWHP advocates at national and international levels for increased support and commitment to improving women's health worldwide. In Canada, the IWHP presents submissions to the standing committee on finance, participates in national and international coalitions and partnerships, creates public awareness through events and communications strategies, and publishes research and scientific studies. The medical expertise and reputable work of the SOGC makes the IWHP an authority in the discussion of maternal and infant health worldwide.
The IWHP delivers programs through partnerships with professional OB/GYN associations in low resource countries. One important component of the SOGC’s partnership program is the strengthening of the voice and contribution of peer professional associations so that they can assume leadership in promoting sexual and reproductive health. The IWHP also participates in global partnerships and coalitions with other organizations to share knowledge and promote our mandate.
Through the Partnership Program and the FIGO Saving Mothers and Newborns Projects, health care practitioners and professional associations work together to learn best practices and overcome challenges, improving health systems and the delivery of care. Capacity building of professional associations is the cornerstone of the Partnership Program.
“Putting in place the health workforce needed for scaling up reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services is an urgent task, and we believe that the support of health professional organizations will be crucial.”
– UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid
Research and Evaluation
We value the efficacy of our contributions, believe in evidence-based approaches and are always looking for ways to improve our work. Initiatives such as the QUARITE Research Project evaluate the effectiveness of the ALARM International Program, ensuring that we are delivering our best.
"It is my aspiration that health finally will be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for."
– Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan