WHO's short list of reproductive health indicators for global monitoring

These 17 largely population-based indicators provide an overview of the reproductive health (RH) situation at the global and national level, endorsed by the WHO and the United Nations Interagency Working Group.


Information on each of the 17 indicators (Note: Most of the indicators are described in full elsewhere in this database.)


The DHS or other representative surveys of the intended population can provide certain indicators (1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 17). Other indicators (6, 7, 10, 12 and 16) require program-level data: service statistics, facility-based services, or laboratory results on clients. Whereas data are generally available for indicators based on the DHS or RHS, data may be difficult to obtain for certain measures (e.g., percentage of OB-GYN admissions owing to abortion).


During the 1990s, the official representatives of countries worldwide attended international conferences (ICPD in Cairo, the Fourth Women's Conference in WHO's Short List of Reproductive Health Indicators for Global Monitoring in Beijing) and endorsed a number of global goals and targets in the broad area of sexual and RH. This endorsement led to a proliferation of RH indicators on which countries were asked to report. Subsequently, the UN asked WHO to take the lead in organizing an interagency technical process to examine the issue of RH indicators and to reach consensus on a short list of indicators for global monitoring.

WHO's resulting set of 17 indicators covers the main RH areas and represents the consensus among international agencies of the key indicators for international comparison, global monitoring, and follow-up to the international conferences.

The purpose of this set of indicators is to provide an overview of the RH situation at global and national levels. The objective is not to present a comprehensive set of indicators for program monitoring and evaluation. However, the data collected for reporting the indicators should be useful at the program management level.

dEFINITIONS
  1. Total Fertility Rate (TFR)

    Total number of children a woman would have by the end of her reproductive period if she experienced the currently prevailing age-specific fertility rates throughout her childbearing life

  2. Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR)1

    Percent of women of reproductive age (15-49) who are using (or whose partner is using) a contraceptive method at a particular point in time

  3. Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR)

    Annual number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births

  4. Antenatal Care Coverage

    Percent of women attended at least once during pregnancy, by skilled health personnel (excluding trained or untrained traditional birth attendants), for reasons relating to pregnancy

  5. Percent of Births Attended by Skilled Health Personnel

    Percent of births attended by skilled health personnel (excluding trained or untrained traditional birth attendants)

  6. Availability of Basic Essential Obstetric Care

    Number of facilities with functioning basic essential obstetric care per 500,000 population

  7. Availability of Comprehensive Essential Obstetric Care

    Number of facilities with functioning comprehensive essential obstetric care per 500,000 population

  8. Perinatal Mortality Rate (PMR)

    Number of perinatal deaths per 1,000 total births

  9. Low Birth Weight Prevalence

    Percent of live births that weigh less than 2,500g

  10. Positive Syphilis Serology Prevalence in Pregnant Women

    Percent of pregnant women (15-24) attending antenatal clinics, whose blood has been screened for syphilis, with positive serology for syphilis

  11. Prevalence of Anemia in Women

    Percent of women of reproductive age (15-49) screened for hemoglobin levels with levels 110g/l for pregnant women, and 120g/l for non-pregnant women

  12. Percent of Obstetric and Gynecological Admissions Owing to Abortion

    Percent of all cases admitted to service delivery points providing in-patient obstetric and gynecological services, which are due to abortion (spontaneous and induced, but excluding planned termination of pregnancy)

  13. Reported Prevalence of Women with FGC

    Percent of women interviewed in a community survey reporting having undergone FGC

  14. Prevalence of Infertility in Women

    Percent of women of reproductive age (15-49) at risk of pregnancy (not pregnant, sexually active, non-contracepting, and non-lactating) who report trying for a pregnancy for two years or more

  15. Reported Incidence of Urethritis in Men

    Percent of men aged (15-49) interviewed in a community survey reporting episodes of urethritis in the last 12 months

  16. HIV Prevalence among Pregnant Women

    Percent of pregnant women (15-24) attending antenatal clinics, whose blood has been screened for HIV and who are sero-positive for HIV

  17. Knowledge of HIV-related Prevention Practices

    Percent of all respondents who correctly identify all three major ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV and who reject three major misconceptions about HIV transmission or prevention

1 The expert group working with WHO on this set of indicators recommends basing the calculation of contraceptive prevalence on all women of reproductive age, in contrast to the convention used by the DHS and RHS to report it for married women only (or married and unmarried women separately).


This set of indicators is not meant to serve as an index; rather, it draws attention to the key measurable areas of RH.


nutrition, knowledge, safe motherhood (SM), access, female genital cutting (FGC), family planning, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infection (STI), newborn (NB)