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. 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. The Founding Members of RHWG marked with an (*) supported a broader view of demographic studies and a population policy, allowing women’s reproductive health due attention. The group had its first meeting in Egypt in April 1988. 

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 linter-linkages between children and women’s health within the context of the family and the community.

The Group continued its research, meeting and exchanging visits and activities over the years, developing research themes of relevance to the changing needs of the region, including fertility and infertility, the quality of care, health sector reform and implications on reproductive health, singlehood and celibacy, marriage, childbirth, and sexuality, among other themes. 

Up till 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 appointed the Coordinator of the RHWG starting January 2008. She is Professor at the Epidemiology and Population Health Dept., Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut. Dr. Jocelyn is devoting part of her working time to leadership and management of the network.

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. 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.

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