- Politicians are responding more and more to the fact that Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 (reduction of infant mortality) and MDG 5 (improvement of maternal health) are still a long way from being achieved in 2015. The development of a Global Business Plan (GBP) during 2007 represented a new-found determination among development agencies and international stakeholders to reach these goals. The GBP reflected the frustration that after 20 years of the “Safe Motherhood” initiative, little progress has been made.
- On a recent visit to Nigeria, in particular to the Northern States Kano and Kaduna, I [WK] became aware of the needs of the obstetrical services, especially in rural areas. Plenty of information is already available about the high maternal and infant mortality in such states. Despite a huge supply of drugs and other necessities by many non-governmental organisations the tragedy of maternal mortality and obstetric fistula continues and could not be changed over the past 20 years. This was stated again at the “Women deliver” conference last November in London.
- In the February issue we made you aware of the Congress of the European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the beginning of March in Lisbon. Those of you who attended can confirm the high attendance of about 1700 colleagues from all over Europe and the excellent atmosphere. The meeting had a real European flavour and there were outstanding presentations and lectures. At the opening ceremony Dr. Eberhard Müller-Heubach of Winston-Salem, USA, a past president of the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, gave an impressive insight into research in our specialty and experience in the USA.
- Have you heard yet about European Research Area (ERA)-Link, the flourishing networking tool for European researchers, scientists and scholars in the US? It focuses on three types of activity: networking of researchers, information dissemination and helping expatriate researchers to collaborate with colleagues in Europe or to return to rewarding careers in Europe. ERA-Link has now grown to over 3000 members from 24 of the 25 member states in Europe as well as people from many other countries. The largest numbers of members work at universities in the area of biology (26%), with an additional 12% in medicine or veterinary medicine.
- What's new?Reviews: Investigating genetic polymorphism in defined diseases is going to open a completely new field of research. No longer are the end-products of this polymorphism – enzymes and proteins in the circulating blood – the focus of research, but the alterations at the cellular and chromosomal level itself. At the medical school of Chicago a place is reserved for those who will discover the cause of eclampsia, still the cause of numerous maternal deaths in the developing world and still seen also in industrialized countries.
- The FIGO World Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 5 to 10 November 2006 was a great success for the organisers. About eight thousand participants from all over the world attended the meeting. It was the best attended congress, so far, since the foundation of FIGO by De Watteville in 1954 in Geneva, Switzerland. Since then, every three years FIGO has organised a World Congress of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, the last one being in 2003 in Chile. FIGO's other activities include: