Joint research and projects

By bringing together researcher from all over the world, ANSER supports academic collaboration on sexual and reproductive health and rights policy. A full overview of joint ANSER publications and broader research activities can be found here:



Ivanova O., Rai M., Mlahagwa W., Tumuhairwe J., Bakuli A., Nyakato V.N., Kemigisha E. A cross-sectional mixed-methods study of sexual and reproductive health knowledge, experiences and access to services among refugee adolescent girls in the Nakivale refugee settlement, Uganda. Reproductive Health (2019) 16:35. Link

Van Eekert N, Leye E, Van de Velde S. The Association Between Women's Social Position and the Medicalization of Female Genital Cutting in Egypt. Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2018 Sep 1;44(3). doi:10.1363/44e6618. Link

ANSER, Ogbe E, Van Braeckel D, Temmerman M, Larsson EC, Keygnaert I, De Los Reyes Aragón W, Cheng F, Lazdane G, Cooper D, Shamu S, Gichangi P, Dias S, Barrett H, Nobels A, Pei K, Galle A, Esho T, Knight L, Tabana H, Degomme O. Opportunities for linking research to policy: lessons learned from implementation research in sexual and reproductive health within the ANSER network. Health Res Policy Syst. 2018 Dec 17;16(1):123. Link

Oliveira C, Keygnaert I, Oliveira Martins MDR, Dias S. Assessing reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence, causes and preventive strategies, in European asylum reception facilities. Global Health. 2018 May 9;14(1):48. doi: 10.1186/s12992-018-0365-6. Link


R. Elise B. Johansen, Mahgoub Ziyada M, Shell-Duncan B, Marcusàn Kaplan A, Leye E. Health sector involvement in the management of female genital mutilation/cutting in 30 countries. BMC Health Services Research (2018) 18:240. Link

Kemigisha E, Nyakato V, Bruce K, Ndaruhutse Ruzaaza G, Mlahagwa W, Ninsiima A, et al. Adolescents’ Sexual Wellbeing in Southwestern Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Assessment of Body Image, Self-Esteem and Gender Equitable Norms. Int J Environ Res Public Health. MDPI AG; 2018;15(2). Link

Frederico M, Michielsen K, Arnaldo C, Decat P. Factors Influencing Abortion Decision-Making Processes among Young Women. Open Access Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 329. . Link

Kemigisha, E., Ivanova, O., Ruzaaza, G. N., Ninsiima, A. B., Kaziga, R., Bruce, K., … Michielsen, K. (2019). Process evaluation of a comprehensive sexuality education intervention in primary schools in South Western Uganda. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, 51–59.  Link

Ivanova, O., Wambua, S., Mwaisaka, J., Bossier, T., Thiongo, M., Michielsen, K.,  Gichangi, P. (2019). Evaluation of the ELIMIKA pilot project : improving ART adherence among HIV positive youth using an eHealth intervention in Mombasa, Kenya. AFRICAN JOURNAL OF REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, 23(1), 100–110. Link

Leye E,  Van Eekert N, Shamu S, Esho T, Barrett H. Debating medicalization of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): learning from (policy) experiences across countries. Reproductive Health (2019). Link

Wang MY, Zhang WH, Mu Y, Temmerman M, Li JK, Zheng A. Contraceptive practices among unmarried women in China, 1982-2017: systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2019 Jan 18:1-7. IF : 1.616. Link

Liu J, Wu S, Xu J, Temmerman M, Zhang WH; INPAC Group. Is Repeat Abortion a Public Health Problem among Chinese Adolescents? A Cross-Sectional Survey in 30 Provinces. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Mar 5;16(5). Link

Frederico, M., Arnaldo, C., Michielsen, K., & Decat, P. (2019). Adult and young women communication on sexuality: a pilot intervention in Maputo-Mozambique. Reproductive Health.16. Link

Hlatshwako TG, Shah SJ, Kosana P, Adebayo E, Hendriks J, Larsson EC, Hensel DJ, Toller Erausquin J, Marks M, Michielsen K, Saltis H, Francis JM, Wouters E, Tucker JD. Online health survey research during COVID-19. The Lancet Digital Health. Volume 3, Issue 2, 2021, Pages e76-e77, ISSN 2589-7500, Link.

Galle A, Semaan A, Huysmans E, Audet C, Asefa A, Delvaux T, Afolabi B, El Ayadi AM, Benova L. A double-edged sword—telemedicine for maternal care during COVID-19: findings from a global mixed-methods study of healthcare providers. BMJ Global Health 2021;6:e004575.  Link

Luo H, Wu S, Wang K, Xu J, Tang L, Temmerman M, Zhang WH. Repeat induced abortion in 30 Chinese provinces: A cross sectional study. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2021 Jan 25. Link

Blondeel K, Dias S, Furegato M, Seuc A, Gama A, Fuertes R, Mendão L, Temmerman M, Toskin I. Sexual behaviour patterns and STI risk: results of a cluster analysis among men who have sex with men in Portugal. BMJ Open. 2021 Jan 22;11(1):e033290. Link

Michielsen K, Brockschmidt L. Barriers to Sexuality Education for Children and Young People with Disabilities in the WHO European Region : A Scoping Review. Sex education: sexuality, society and learning. 2021. Link.

Ampt FH, Lim MSC, Agius PA, L'Engle K, Manguro G, Gichuki C, Gichangi P, Chersich MF, Jaoko W, Temmerman M, Stoové M, Hellard M, Luchters S. Effect of a mobile phone intervention for female sex workers on unintended pregnancy in Kenya (WHISPER or SHOUT): a cluster-randomised controlled trial. Lancet Glob Health. 2020 Dec;8(12):e1534-e1545.  Link

Wang MY, Temmerman M, Zhang WH, Fan Y, Mu Y, Mo SP, Zheng A, Li JK. Contraceptive and reproductive health practices of unmarried women globally, 1999 to 2018: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Dec 4;99(49):e23368.  Free PMC article. Link

Van Eekert N. To medicalize or not to medicalize: is that the question? Exploring medicalization of female genital cutting in Egypt and Kenya. University of Antwerp & Ghent University. November 2020. Link

Van de Velde S, Delaruelle K, Van Eekert N, Bracke P. Perceived group discrimination based on one’s gender and the gender gap in depression in Europe. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. November 2020. Link

Ivanova O, Rai M, Michielsen K, Dias S. How Sexuality Education Programs Have Been Evaluated in Low-and Lower-Middle-Income Countries? A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8183. Link

Michielsen K, Larrson EC, Kågesten A, Erausquin JT, Griffin S, Van de Velde S, Tucker JD; I-SHARE Team. International Sexual Health And REproductive health (I-SHARE) survey during COVID-19: study protocol for online national surveys and global comparative analyses. Sex Transm Infect. 2020 Oct 20:sextrans-2020-054664. Link 

ANSER publication 'Five years of global academic collaboration building evidence for sexual and reproductive health and rights policies'

As a network, we consider it our duty to bridge the gap between research and policymaking, as we strongly believe sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) policies should be based on scientific evidence. In this publication you will find a glimpse of what we have achieved so far. May it inspire you to keep advocating sexual and reprodu

ctive health and rights worldwide.

The pdf version can be found here
If you would like a paper copy, please send an email to



  • Global Early Adolescents Study (GEAS)
    The Global Early Adolescent Study is the first worldwide study that investigates how gender norms of young adolescents influence their sexual health and wellbeing. The international project is coordinated by the World Health Organization and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is currently implemented in 11 countries (Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, DRC, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, USA).X ANSER members are part of the consortium: The University of Cuenca Ecuador,John Hopkins University in the USA, International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH)/ Ghent University in Belgium, and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.
    ICRH is responsible for the study in Belgium. The results of the first qualitative phase of the research project are described in various scientific papers and are available here. The second phase of the study consists of the implementation of a longitudinal quantitative survey. Most countries already finished their baseline study and developed a report of the results which is available on the GEAS website: Cross country results will be published before the end of 2020 as a supplement of the Journal of Adolescent Health. Meanwhile, most countries are preparing the second and third wave of quantitative data collection which will allow to measure the impact of the respondents’ gender norms on their sexual health and wellbeing during adolescence.
    For more information about the international study:
    For more information about the study in Belgium:


  • Technical support to UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) to implement the Sexual and Reproductive Health plans and strategies in the region
    ANSER provides technical assistance under the UNFPA EECARO vision "Bridging Science with Policies" and “Knowledge Transfer from West to East” to countries in the region. With concrete tools it helps mobilizing regional and global technical alliances in support of the development and implementation of national SRH Strategies and Action Plans. The tools are publicly available:
    1)    Suggested indicators for the monitoring of SRH National Programmes and Strategies for the acceleration of the universal access to SRH in line with the WHO EURO regional Action Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health - link full text
    2)    Checklist for developing National SRH Action Plans and Strategies for accelerating the Universal access to SRH - link checklist
    3)    Recommendations to support the rollout of the WHO Europe Action Plan for SRH at a national level - link full text


  • International Sexual Health And Reproductive Health during COVID-19 (ISHARE)
    The Academic Network on Sexual and Reproductive Health Policies (ANSER) initiated a study on the impact of the COVID-19 isolation measures on sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing.
    COVID-19 measures such as the obligation to stay at home, social distancing, prohibition to do more than the essential trip, etc may have a profound impact on sexual behaviors, reproductive health, and social life across the world. It may have an impact on contraceptive use, intimate partner violence, access to essential reproductive health services and ante-natal and post-natal care.
    This behavioral cross-sectional study, developed under the supervision of Prof. Kristien Michielsen at Ghent University (Belgium) and Prof. Joe Tucker at the University of North Carolina (US) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), includes online national surveys and a global comparative analyses. For the moment, about 30 countries expressed interest to participate in the online survey. Eligible participants will be individuals 18 years and older who consent to participate. In each country, a lead organization will be responsible for organizing ethical review, translation, and survey administration. The consortium network provides support for national studies, coordination, and multi-national comparison. Multi-level modelling will be used to determine the impact of COVID-19 measures on SRHR.
    The results of the study will be translated into policy recommendations that could limit the negative consequences of these measures as much as possible.
    The survey tool and protocol are freely available. Are you interested in knowing more or joining? Please contact 


  • VLIR-UOS Global Minds operational grant for doctoral fellows: Sara De Meyer (ICRH) conducted interviews and focus group discussions in collaboration with the University of Cuenca (Ecuador) to answer the question ‘How do adolescent girls and boys in Ecuador define sexual wellbeing?’
    Sara De Meyer (ICRH, Ghent University) conducted interviews and focus group discussions in collaboration with the University of Cuenca (Ecuador) to answer the question ‘How do adolescent girls and boys in Ecuador define sexual wellbeing?’. The preliminary results indicate that adolescents recognize diverse aspects that contribute to sexual wellbeing and satisfaction. Some examples of the subjects that were discussed:  feeling comfortable with one’s own body, self-esteem, and age, communication with partner and parents, attraction and use of contraception, sexual and reproductive health education, the fact that adolescent sexual health isn’t considered as being taboo and gender norms, laws such as provision of sexuality education in schools, abortion laws and laws related to punishment of violence perpetrators. Sara de Meyer got a VLIR-UOS Global Minds operational grant for doctoral fellows for this research.For more information, please contact:


  • VLIR-UOS Global Minds operational grant for doctoral fellows: Katrina Perehudoff (ICRH) worked with Mbarara University, HEPS Uganda, and the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development in Uganda for the ADAPT project (ADolescent fAmily Planning: policy tracing for sexual and reproductive health and righTs).
    VLIR-UOS Global Minds operational grant for doctoral fellows: Katrina Perehudoff (ICRH) worked with Mbarara University, HEPS Uganda, and the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development in Uganda for the ADAPT project (ADolescent fAmily Planning: policy tracing for sexual and reproductive health and righTs).   
    Adolescent contraception is essential to reduce maternal mortality, which is particularly high in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, good evidence and rational arguments for providing contraceptive services to adolescents often fail to translate into national laws and policies that support contraceptive provision and use. For example, a simple reading of policy documents reveals that Uganda’s policy focuses on ‘value based’ abstinence for adolescents and access to contraceptives for married adolescents over a certain age, while Kenya’s policy takes a rights-based approach to adolescent family planning and permits the use of contraceptives by all adolescents regardless of their age or marital status. Curiously, these countries’ policy choices diverge despite their many demographic, social, political, legal, and economic similarities. It is unclear to what extent the binding laws and guiding policies in these countries uphold contraceptive availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality standards in WHO’s guidance for ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services. Moreover, the determinants influencing Uganda and Kenya’s respective policy choices are not well understood.
    For more information, please contact: and .
    Project video:


  • FP assessment in West Nile region in Uganda for Enabel
    International Centre for Reproductive Health/Ghent University and Mbarara University conducted a ‘Family planning study in West Nile in Uganda’ for Enabel (Belgian Technical Cooperation) to clarify what the regional stakeholders’ opinion is on the current situation of family planning services in the region, what bottlenecks they see and what recommendations they suggest be taken up in the near future.

  • SRH care through UHC law & policy
    ANSER members peer reviewed a policy assessment tool developed by ICRH (Ghent University) to identify sexual and reproductive health related content in Universal Health Coverage (UHC) law & policies. Next step is to pilot the tool in 6 Latin American countries.

  • UN-MENAMAIS (Sexual violence)
    Sexual violence is a major public health, judicial and societal concern in Belgium. A comparative and representative study is however still lacking. UN-MENAMAIS aims to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms, nature, magnitude and impact of sexual violence on female, male and transgender victims, their peers, offspring, professionals and society in Belgium and to generate policy recommendations and prevention and response strategies.
    A consortium consisting of ICRH and IRCP at Ghent University, Université de Liège, the National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology, Respect Seniors and the Institute of Equality of Women and Men will realize the core objectives of the project
    For more information, please contact: or

  • Elevate
    The ELEVATE consortium wants to empower women to screen for their cervical cancer risk in any setting while guaranteeing rapid and easy-to-understand results. To that end, the project will identify hard-to-reach women and design a screening strategy to access them. This strategy includes the development of a user-friendly, low-cost, portable self-sampling screening tool which will be able to detect 14 high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types and 2 proteomic cervical cancer biomarkers.
    The simultaneous detection of HPV DNA with the proteomic marker will allow for more accurate detection of HPV infections associated with cervical cancer progression. Therefore, more relevant patients can be detected and treated, thereby drastically reducing the cancer burden in these populations. An intervention during which the self-testing device will be piloted in hard-to-reach communities in Belgium, Portugal, Ecuador and Brazil will provide information about the acceptability and cost-effectiveness of the tool. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
    More information: website: or please contact:

  • Gender-based violence in higher educations in Uganda
    ICRH/Ghent University collaborated with Mbarara University on the ‘Gender based violence study in national teachers’ colleges and business, technical and vocational training institutions Uganda’. This study was funded by the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports through ENABEL.