Reproductive Health for All
A contribution from the
Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Eva Mathur, MA
1.1 Postgraduate course in reproductive medicine and reproductive biology
With the history of being a well-reputed teaching institution, the Centre has developed and formalised a postgraduate course in reproductive medicine and reproductive biology. The nearness to WHO Headquarters gives the additional advantage that a great number of lecturers could be drawn from the staff of its Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR). Indeed, with the provision of scientific expertise, virtually on the doorstep, makes the course unique in the sense that scientific standards and update of information can always be guaranteed.
The postgraduate course serves to enable scientists to acquire general, structured knowledge in reproductive health, including the social and demographic dimensions of reproductive health problems in both developed and developing countries. Also, an in-depth knowledge of different methods of modern contraception is acquired. Furthermore, participants receive both the theoretical background for the management of infertility as well as the scientific background for the undertaking of laboratory research in this field.
Another important feature of the postgraduate training is the element of turning static wisdom into dynamic knowledge, or how to become a good trainer. Questions like, "How to make use of new capabilities"; "How to make colleagues know what you already know"; " How to be convincing in presentations/lectures/workshops"; "How to promote the concept of family planning/contraception in a negatively biased environment", are being increasingly addressed in the postgraduate training.
At the end of the six-week course, a Postgraduate Certificate in Reproductive Medicine and Reproductive Biology is obtained.
1.2 Practical training in reproductive health techniques
The Centre's specific skills in the fields of contraception, obstetrics and gynaecology, as well as infertility, are integrated in a practical training programme in reproductive health techniques. Issues in family planning; complications in pregnancy; abortion and its consequences; sexually transmitted diseases; and the diagnosis, management and treatment of infertility are addressed.
The full programme offers training in the following fields:
The training enables medical staff with some experience already in the above-mentioned fields, to perform relevant, but more sophisticated clinical work. It will also enable them, in their turn, to conduct the training, in their own centres.
It is of mutual interest to exchange staff for shorter or longer periods of time. Staff from the institution in the developed country can act as trainers, consultants or advisers to staff of the developing country institution. Much insight can be gained from the new scenarios in the developing country leading to the development of sensitivities to setting-specific issues invariably not found at the home institution. Developing country scientists can benefit from hands-on training, learning rational research management, the exposure to developed countries research and training networks, plus participate in relevant courses given by the developed country institution.
With the relative availability of staff and their interest in clinical work, training and research at an international level, the Centre engages in the exchange of staff and gives general staff support to conduct specific research projects, clinical work, training, follow-up of training and quality control.
There are possibilities for staff of foreign institutions to stay at the Centre to conduct research or follow a specific reproductive health training programme.
Collaborative research activities are carried out with institutions requesting research support from the Centre.
The Centre participates in multi-centre studies, co-ordinated by WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research.
Partnerships in medical research and training programmes are often referred to as twinning programmes. Unlike adoption programmes, they provide challenges for both institutions and mutually interesting work can be facilitated. The main feature of a twinned programme is that the work will take full advantage of the resources and expertise available in the developed country. Simultaneously, the staff of the developing country will be provided with the most effective training. In addition, staff in the developed country will be exposed to a number of issues and challenges, which are not known in the developed world.
In order to ensure technical excellence and sound financing schemes, the Centre is active in matching the interests of developing country institutions with institutions in the developed countries.
The Centre emphasises a continuous flow of information between staff in formal partnerships, networks as well as with other interested parties. Partners are trained in using electronic databases and Internet and in order to ensure continuity and self-reliance, they are encouraged to use the Centre's Internet facilities to profile themselves with their publications on Internet.
The results of research are published in scientific journals with international distribution.
Edited by Aldo Campana,