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IDRC grantee Faysal El Kak appointed to WHO group of experts

May 31, 2023
Dr. Faysal El Kak, of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, has been appointed a member of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of Experts for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition — one of the World Health Organization’s most prestigious panels.
Head and shoulders photo of Faysal El Kak.
Faysal El Kak

IDRC-funded work 

Dr. El Kak is currently a co-principal investigator for Reproductive rights in times of conflict: a qualitative exploratory study of the lived experiences of GBV among Syrian refugee women in Lebanon. This project is centred on sexual and reproductive rights among Syrian women refugees in Lebanon and examines how gender-based violence is approached in reproductive healthcare settings. Involving Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian women, the study hopes to influence healthcare and public policy, humanitarian initiatives and women’s empowerment, and assist in building links between a variety of non-governmental organizations working with refugee women. 

His research 

Participating in clinical and academic/research services at the academic and community levels, Dr. El Kak runs a community clinic where he works on services, research and advocacy related to Syrian refugee health and marginalized Lebanese, especially in the area of women’s health. 

He is the immediate past vice president of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, president of the Middle East and North Africa Sexual Health Federation of the World Association of Sexual Health, director of the Women Integrated Sexual Health Program, clinical associate of obstetrics and gynecology and female sexual dysfunction at the American University of Beirut as well as a senior lecturer of health behavior, sexuality and public health at the university’s Faculty of Health Sciences. 

In a presentation to colleagues at IDRC on May 1, Dr. El Kak noted that, “Despite the progress that has been made with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) at the conceptual and practical levels, challenges continue to deter the path to more equitable health outcomes for all. From the COVID-19 epidemic threat to the inclusivity failure, to legal and financial barriers, and restrictive gender norms, essential SRHR services are the first to fall out and to have links to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) strained … There is a need for a true representation of a diversity of voices and variety of relevant partners to regain SRHR and strengthen its positioning globally to contribute to achievement of the SDGs.”