Social Sciences: Social Statistics & Demography

DEMO3014 Reproductive Health

Module Overview

You will be provided with an understanding of reproductive health and its relevance to demography. It will introduce the concepts, history and importance of reproductive health in recent population debate, present analyses of the causes and determinants of poor reproductive health and review successes and failures of selected intervention strategies to improve reproductive health.

Module Details

Title: Reproductive Health
Code: DEMO3014
Year: 3
Semester: 2

CATS points: 15 ECTS points: 7.5
Level: Undergraduate
Co-ordinator(s): Dr Claire Bailey

Aims and objectives


  • Introduce the concepts, history, and importance of reproductive health in current population debate
  • Analyse causes and determinants of poor reproductive health and highlight synergies between key reproductive health outcomes.
  • Review successes and failures of selected intervention strategies to improving reproductive health in low and middle income countries.
  • Examine practical and ethical issues surrounding technology assisted fertility.



Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to:


Knowledge and understanding

  • Linkages between reproductive health and broader development issues.
  • Family planning, contraceptive dynamics, and fertility behaviour, as well as practical and ethical issues surrounding technology assisted fertility.
  • Determinants and consequences of poor maternal health and the success and failures of some interventions.
  • Reproductive morbidity and synergies with HIV/AIDS.

Cognitive (thinking) skills

  • Grasp the key issues and current debates in reproductive health.
  • Identify dynamic linkages between reproductive health outcomes and to understand the consequences of certain reproductive health behaviours.
  • Critically evaluate and appraise the theoretical, measurement and substantive aspects of a range of reproductive health outcomes.

Key transferable skills

  • Selectively read and summarise key literature
  • Develop critical reasoning.
  • Conduct independent research.
  • Communicate your ideas coherently through well-structured essays.


  • The module will begin by examining the concepts, and the political and historical antecedents of reproductive health, as laid down in the Plan of Action of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development. The course is broken down into three key components of reproductive health: family planning and fertility; maternal health; and reproductive morbidity and HIV/AIDS.
  • The family planning and fertility theme will examine issues of access to family planning, sexual health and the new MDG target for reproductive health, contraceptive use, and the implications of later fertility, sterility, assisted conception and associated ethical issues.
  • The maternal health theme will explore measurement issues, understanding causes and determinants, and a critical look at intervention strategies from particular parts of the world. Abortion statistics and the impact on maternal health of legislation on abortion will be examined through case studies from some regions of the world.
  • The final section of the module will start by highlighting the synergies between reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, followed by a critical look at measurement of HIV prevalence and examples of prevention and treatment strategies. There will be some discussion of important related issues such as female genital mutilation, and men’s reproductive health issues.

Learning and teaching

Study time allocation

Contact hours: 28
Private study hours: 122
Total study time: 150 hours

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include 22 Lectures plus 6 seminars including video sessions. Learning methods include lectures, independent reading, watching videos and participation in seminar discussions.

Resources and reading list

United Nations (1994) ICPD Programme of Action 1994

World Health Organization (2004) Reproductive Health Strategy

Pfeffer, N. (1993). The Stork and the Syringe. A Political History of Reproductive Medicine. Chapter 6: Bank Accounts & Babies.

Ronsmans, C. and Graham, W. (2006) Maternal mortality: Who, when, where and why? The Lancet, 2006.

Wellings K, Collumbien M, Slaymaker E, Singh S, Hodges Z, Patel D, Bajos N. (2006) Sexual behaviour in context: a global perspective. The Lancet 368:1706-1728.


Assessment methods

Coursework and examination.