PRESIDENT’S WELCOME TO FIGIJ
Welcome to the website of FIGIJ, or the Federation Internationale de Gynecologie Infantile et Juvenile. We are the clinicians whose mission is to improve the reproductive health of girls and young women from birth into adulthood worldwide; to educate those who serve this population; to further the research in this field; and to advocate for the health of our young girls and women worldwide.
Girls ages 10 to 19 years old represent 1,200,000,0000 of the population worldwide, or 19% of the total world population. Many of these young women live in impoverished situations, in both developed and developing countries, where teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections are high in prevalence, and access to reproductive health is limited. For the adolescent, perinatal mortality may be two to five-fold higher than that in women of 20 to 30 years of age. HIV, impacting population health in Africa and some other countries, continues to be a disease affecting one third of adolescence, with 6000 young people infected daily, and 1/3 of infections occurring in youth ages 15 to 24 years. Many of these individuals have no idea about their positive serology and continue to pass on infection. Although girls in developed countries have better access to contraceptives and reproductive health care, they tend to initiate sexual activity earlier, often without the capability for abstract thought or ability to foresee consequences (a capacity that comes usually in late adolescence, if at all). Girls in developing countries may start sexual activity later in adolescence, but without the benefit of education on reproductive health and contraceptive access. Sexual abuse occurs in one out of four girls by the age of 20, and one in six boys. Girls who have been sexually abused tend to take it out on themselves with self harmful behaviors and limited perceived options; boys who have been sexually abused are at risk of “acting out”, or repeating the cycle.
We have much work to do. Together, we can work towards improving the reproductive health and access to care for girls and women worldwide. We can do this through educating those who have the honor and privilege of providing care for our youth, to increase the numbers providing pediatric and adolescent gynecology services across the world. IFEPAG, or the International Federation for Education in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, is the official organization that can provide certification for those who wish to subspecialize in this field. Please see the IFEPAG link to learn more about the certification process.
Our goals also include advocacy for the reproductive health of our youth, in partnership with organizations such as FIGO (the Federation Internationale of Gynecology and Obstetrics), ACOG (the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), SAHM (the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine), UNFPA, and multiple other organizations. Those individuals engaging in research in reproductive health for girls and women will find an academic home in FIGIJ, with our world congresses as an avenue for high profile sharing of information. We also encourage dissemination of research and information at the various worldwide PAG organizations, including NASPAG, EURAPAG, ALOGIA, and all such groupings. FIGIJ can be thought of as an umbrella organization for all PAG organizations, bringing all of us together with a unified goal of improving the reproductive health of girls and young women. Working together, we will accomplish more than each of us can do as separate entities. We look forward to the challenge- join us in our efforts!Ellen Rome, MD, MPH
President of FIGIJ