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World Health Organization, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, Switzerland

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is the leading international organization on global health, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends. It is governed by 192 Member States, and is grouped in five regional offices. The ultimate objective of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. The Department of Reproductive Health and Research, RHR, seeks to ensure that people are empowered to lead healthy sexual and reproductive lives through making informed choices. In pursuit of this mission the Department endeavours to strengthen the capacity of countries to enable people to promote and protect their own sexual and reproductive health and that of their partners, and to have access to, and receive, high-quality sexual and reproductive health services when needed. RHR was established in November 1998 by bringing together the UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP) and the former WHO Division of Reproductive Health (Technical Support) (RHT). The purpose of joining these two entities was to facilitate integration of research and programme development in sexual and reproductive health within WHO. HRP is the main instrument within the entire United Nations system for research in human reproduction, bringing together policy-makers, scientists, health care providers, clinicians, consumers and community representatives to identify and address priorities for research to improve sexual and reproductive health.

Underlying HRP's effort in research capacity strengthening is the conviction that improvements in research capacity will contribute to improvements in the health status of the population through the utilization and application of evidence-based recommendations. One of the approaches in this capacity building effort is to work with collaborating institutions in developing countries in organizing courses, workshops and seminars. They include courses on various themes of reproductive health, on dissemination of research findings, on the design and implementation of a research project, on ethical aspects in reproductive health research, on gender and reproductive rights, on impact of environment on reproductive health, on qualitative approaches in research, on biostatistics and epidemiology, on semen analysis and cervical cytology, on evidence-based medicine for improving reproductive health.

Dr Heli Bathija will be the bridge between other partners and WHO's various departments and units, linking with and investing her knowledge from global initiatives, capacity building, dissemination and exploitation of results and lessons learned. She is an MD from Finland who has worked also in Africa and in USA. Currently is the Area Manager for the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions in the RHR in Geneva. She is in WHO since 1986, and has organized dozens of courses and workshops and coordinated many multi-country research studies on reproductive health, involving over 50 countries. Since 2006 she has coordinated the RHR contribution to RAFT, first in French and since 2008 also in English and since 2010 in Arabic as well.
Mr Jitendra Khanna is Technical Officer responsible communication and information dissemination in RHR. He is the Technical Editor of The WHO Reproductive Health Library. He has a Master degree in Environmental Biology and Management and has more than 30 years' experience of editing and health and science communication within WHO.
Mrs Åsa Cuzin, is a Technical Officer from the WHO's Department of Reproductive Health and Research, where she has worked during the past thirteen years mainly with the development of the WHO Reproductive Health Library (RHL), an electronic journal on evidence-base medicine, and has been involved in holding workshops on use of RHL, capacity building activities and Implementation Research. She has studied psychology in France and holds a postgraduate diploma in public health from the University in Geneva, Switzerland and a Diploma in Human rights. She also holds certificates from continued training in Negotiating for conflict and dispute resolution, UNITAR, and International Negotiations, The Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland.