Reproduktiv hälsa och rättigheter handlar om kvinnors rätt att bestämma över sin egen kropp och sexualitet, om tillgång till kunskap och rådgivning om sexualitet och reproduktion, om skydd mot HIV/aids och andra könssjukdomar, om tillgång till preventivmedel samt säker abort. Det handlar om tillgång till adekvat vård under graviditet och förlossning, och vård av nyfödda samt om frihet från våld. Trots det är maternell och reproduktiv ohälsa fortsättningsvis en av de vanligaste orsakerna för sjukdom och död bland kvinnor i åldern 15-49.

De övergripande målen för forskargruppen är att studera sexuell och reproduktiv hälsa i ett globalt- och migrationsrelaterat perspektiv, samt i relation till samhälleliga och kulturella värderingar. Vi bedriver en rad olika projekt inom dessa områden och har samarbetspartners på flera kontinenter. Gemensamt för alla projekt är att de är interdisciplinära och flervetenskapliga, vilket inkluderar både medicinska och socialvetenskapliga forskningsansatser för att utforska komplexiteten av reproduktiv ohälsa.

Forskargruppens verksamhet är kopplad till Akademiska sjukhusets transkulturella invandrarmottagning placerad vid specialistmödravården.






  • We have had two governmental commissions on female circumcision and clinical guidelines for meeting patient seeking-care for honour-related violence on behalf of the Minister of Gender and Equity resulting in hand books for professionals. Expert contribution to The Swedish Board of Health and Social Welfare, with new national guidelines for health care providers meeting women and children with cultural background of circumcision of children.
  • The results from study on health of immigrants detained in Swedish detention centers have been disseminated in collaboration with the Swedish Migration Agency. It had resulted in majority of our recommendations being implemented or forming the basis to improve services, especially health care services, provided for immigrants and to improve the training provided for detention staff.
  • A Swedish Governmental Inquiry from February 2016 about the legal issues on surrogacy, refers to our study with commissioning parents and social workers dealing with legal parenthood after transnational surrogacy. The referrals are based on interviews with Anna Arvidsson and the paper; “Views of Swedish commissioning parents relating to exploitation discourse in using transnational surrogacy”. The inquiry’s advice regarding transnational surrogacy would, to some extent, facilitate for the genetic father to become a legal parent, in order to secure the child’s legal status.
  • The findings from the randomized controlled trial on simplified follow-up of medical abortion was cited and used as strong evidence to come up with a set of recommendations by the WHO, which has resulted in the publication of the guideline ”Health workers’ role in providing safe abortion care and post-abortion contraception”. Our research was the only research that could contribute to recommendations on simplified follow-up after medical abortion in low-resource settings where women are largely illiterate and where autonomy is limited.  WHO has also used our results from Tanzania in order to develop guidelines based on The Robson classification for reducing high rates of caesarean sections in low income settings.
  • At the University  Hospital of Uppsala, Akademiska sjukhuset, Birgitta Essén is running a transcultural  clinic especially for immigrant women and young girls, focusing on reproductive health and obstetric problems, as well as female circumcision.

Seminarier och workshops

Research Seminar in Falsterbo 2016 (in Swedish) 

  • Expert meeting of the Eastern Partnership Panel on Migration and Asylum,  Moldova to discuss immigration detention 2014.
  • Deliver presentation for consultants and residents in obstetrics and gynecology who works at Shahid Beheshti University hospitals at a seminar in Tehran 2013.
  • Policy workshop with the government of India and representatives from five states, including Rajasthan 2014.
  • Experts meetings with EU member states, the Council of Europe, IOM and the Swedish Migration agency to coproduce and facilitate evidence-based policy recommendations to improve ; 2014 and 2015.
  • The preliminary audit findings were presented to doctors, midwives, support staff of maternity wards of national referral hospital, and referring hospital, Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam public health system, in a workshop themed: “Improving Quality of Obstetric Care in Dar es Salaam Public Hospitals”, in January 2015.
  • Delivered presentation and distributing the results of the project for obstetricians and gynecologists who work in Tehran

Scientific Nordic Network in Global Reproductive Health

The research group has been hosting network meetings in Uppsala since 2009, where researchers from Nordic countries meet and discuss various aspects of SRHR in low-income countries and refugees in the Western countries.

  • 2009: Abortion among foreign-born women in the Nordic countries – what can we learn from research in their home countries?
  • 2010: Caesarean sections among immigrants and in low-income settings
  • 2010: Female genital cutting as a research topic
  • 2011:”Maternal Near Miss” in different contexts – what can we learn through methodology?
  • 2012: When culture and politics meet research questions within reproductive health
  • 2013: Pregnancy & reproductive rights – to what price?
  • 2015: Religion and reproductive health as a research question, with focus on rights and respect
  • 2016: Sexual and reproductive health without borders—Research om women in disaster zones and in migrants in Europe


  • The research group is highly involved in teaching students at an advance level in midwifery, medicine and public health at Uppsala University, at courses advance level in Global Health, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and Research methods and has been delivering customized courses for various professional groups such as policemen and social workers in trafficking, domestic violence and female circumcision.
  • Courses in Public Health and Disasters are given to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) professionals prior to their first deployment in the field.
  • We provide multicultural training for midwives and other nurses as well as medical doctors at health centers and hospitals in Sweden.
  • The group is part of the prestigious Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) at the Uppsala University.