FIGO World Congress 2021 Blog – Day Four

Live from the Israel Forum: Urogynecology

The fourth day of the Congress was opened with a session on Urogynecology, broadcast live from the 2021 FIGO World Congress Israel Forum. Dr Shimon Ginath opened the session and set the stage for the discussion on the 2021 FIGO World Congress. adaptation of the optimal management of prolapse of the apical compartment. Dr Tal Fligelman first took the floor to explain the vaginal approaches to surgery, followed by Dr Jonia Alshiek who reviewed the abdominal approach. The session ended with a brief but extremely engaging group discussion.

Keynote: the urgent need for trauma-sensitive care

We followed up with a keynote lecture by Dr Monika Hauser on Solidarity, Empowerment, Dignity – Trauma Sensitive Support for Women and Girls (Not Just) in War and Crisis Zones. Dr Hauser began his lecture by stating that “when it comes to women’s health issues, it is not only the medical or psychological aspects that need to be taken into account, but also the overall social and political context” . Her talk focused on the need for trauma-informed support and care for survivors of violence, and underscored that stakeholders at all levels of policy making and health care have a role to play in supporting their rights and needs.

The role of caregivers in responding to the climate crisis

We continued the day with a session called Put Out the Fire! – Management of the risks of extreme heat on maternal and neonatal health resulting from climate change. This session was initiated by Professor Sari Kovats, who discussed the impact of extreme heat on maternal and newborn outcomes in Africa, focusing primarily on direct effects based on epidemiology. Dr Seni Kouanda followed up with a lecture examining how heat stress is experienced during pregnancy and the postpartum period and presented potential avenues to address it.

Professor Matthew Chersich followed with a presentation containing practical advice on how clinical care can be adapted to protect women and newborns during heat waves. Frances McConville gave a talk on the main findings of the Lancet Planetary Health survey on “Health Professionals’ Perspectives on Climate Change and Health: A Multinational Study”, with a focus on climate change as a human health problem.

The session closed with a fascinating panel discussion with Dr Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Team Leader on Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Franka Cadée, President of the Confederation international midwives and Dr Jeanne Conry, president of FIGO -Élire. The conversation focused on next steps and avenues for professional organizations to help healthcare professionals advocate for responses to climate change.

ART in low-resource countries

Later, FIGO’s reproductive medicine branch organized a session on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in low-resource countries. Dr Geeta Nargund started with a presentation on natural and gentle in vitro fertilization (IVF). She pointed out how these methods are not only effective, but also more affordable and provide better results for women’s health. Dr Roberto Epifanio Malpassi explored low cost ART, focusing specifically on (in) fertility trends in the Latin American region in recent years.

Dr Angélique Rwiyereka focused her intervention on a case study, detailing the institutionalization of infertility services in a public hospital in Rwanda, sharing the lessons of the initiative’s success. Dr Gitau Mburu concluded the session by sharing an update on current initiatives related to infertility by WHO.

COVID-19 and cancer

The day continued with a range of sessions, including insightful presentations on COVID and cancer in a session hosted by FIGO’s Gynecologic Oncology Track. Professor Sean Kehoe opened the session with a talk on the impact of COVID-19 on cancer screening and care for women with gynecological cancers – with a specific focus on cervical cancer.

Dr Jalid Sehouli spoke about the effects of the pandemic on ovarian cancer and chemotherapy, highlighting the challenges for patients, doctors and caregivers. Dr John Butler ended the session by providing post-pandemic recommendations, reviewing clinical trials and changes in surgical techniques to identify key takeaways from this crisis for cancer treatment.

Addressing the challenges of women’s and girls’ health in Africa and the Middle East

We concluded the day with the Africa and Middle East regional evening, co-organized by the African Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AFOG) and the African Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (SAGO). Focusing on community engagement, HIV, maternal mortality, HPV, FGM and more, this evening covered a wide range of issues affecting the health of women and girls in the region. The evening featured politically engaged musical numbers that highlighted key issues, such as songs about cervical cancer and FGM.

It was an engaging and moving end to this day of the World Congress. Recordings of the entire session will be available for viewing on demand on the Congress virtual platform within 24 hours.

To learn more about the Congress or to register, visit

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