More than 3 Decades of Existence

The RHWG was initiated by a committee on reproductive health that was formed at the Population Council's West Asia and North Africa regional office (WANA) in 1988, when the group had its first meeting in Egypt. The Founding Members of RHWG supported a broader view of demographic studies and a population policy, allowing women’s reproductive health due attention. At that time, the challenge entailed widening the domain of population policy beyond family planning to include initiatives for promoting safe motherhood and child survival.

Until September 2019, RHWG was sustained by a flexible operation led by a Coordinator, Professor Jocelyn DeJong from the Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut (FHS/AUB), and a volunteer consultative committee composed of Professor Huda Zurayk from FHS/AUB, the founder of the network, Professor Belgin Tekce from Bogazici University in Turkey, Dr. Hyam Bashour from Syria, Dr. Atf Gherissi from Tunis-El Manar University, and Professor Rita Giacaman from the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

reproductive health of women

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in September 1994 endorsed the group's approach and plan of action by bringing reproductive health of women to the forefront of population policy deliberations in developing countries.

The group’s first initiative was the completion of the pioneering work, the "Giza Morbidity Study", which focused on women's reproductive morbidity, and gained international acclaim. The Study was part of a larger program established by the WANA office to examine the inter-linkages between children and women’s health within the context of the family and the community.

Host institution: Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Until December 2004, the group was housed in the Population Council’s Egypt office, and has since moved to the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University in Beirut (AUB).

It has also successfully transformed itself into a Network. Dr. Jocelyn DeJong was Coordinator of the RHWG January 2008 - September 2020. She is a Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut (AUB). In September 2020, Dr. Livia Wick became Director of the RHWG. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at AUB. 

the publications

Publications of RHWG parallel the evolution of the Network’s approach and foci of research interests in the region over time. They ensure the dissemination of information and help in making the RHWG's innovative interdisciplinary approach recognized in the region.

They came in the form of Monographs in Reproductive Health which presented original research, literature reviews and theoretical discussions; and primarily addressed researchers and students to contribute to the advancement of interdisciplinary approaches in research on reproductive health.

interdisciplinary perspectives

The publications also came in the form of papers in the Policy Series in Reproductive Health which reached out with frameworks, methodologies and evidence of research to policy makers, program managers and health advocates; and brought out interdisciplinary perspectives which aimed to contribute to the development of more holistic approaches that better meet the health needs of women in the developing world.

Members have recently focused on publishing their work in international journals and edited books as a suitable medium for the dissemination of their work world wide, reaching scholars both regionally and internationally.