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The "Help your Patient Stop" initiative. Evaluation of smoking prevalence and dissemination of WHO/UICC guidelines in UK general practice.
Lancet. 1989 Jun 3; 1(8649):1253-5.The WHO and the International Agency against Cancer in 1988 published joint guidelines on smoking cessation for primary health care teams. A booklet entitled "Help Your Patient Stop" was produced in the United Kingdom as a model for the international dissemination of these guidelines. This booklet was sent to United Kingdom general practitioners by post; about 4 weeks later, a random sample of 5000 were asked to complete a postal questionnaire about the booklet and their smoking habits. The response rate was 75%. About 1/2 (50.5%) remembered receiving the booklet, 27.7% had read it, and only 8.8% could write down any of the 3 essential activities in smoking cessation which the booklet was intended to promote and which were printed in bold letters on the inside back cover. Although the booklet itself might be an adequate model for other countries, unless dissemination and marketing of the information it contains can be improved, its achievement will be limited. However, the survey did have 1 optimistic feature; only 13.5% of general practitioners reported that they smoke; and only 1/3 of those who gave full details of their smoking habit smoke cigarettes. (author's)
A world of difference: the international distribution of information: the media and developing countries.
Paris, France, Unesco, . 114 p. (Communication and Society 15; COM-85/WS-7)Describing the international debate on information and communication, this document deals with the debate on Freedom of Information, pursued at the UN in the years following World War II, considers the theme of Unesco's work in the field, mostly in the 1970s in the context of the emerging discussion of a new world information and communication order; and traces the development of the International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC) from its origins to the present day. The survey and analysis ofthe debate which has taken place in the UN system from 1946 to the present concerning freedom of the press and distribution of information suggests an inevitable conclusion. 30-40 years ago the governments of Western countries and the most influential representatives for the press in those same countries were much more willing to emphasize the societal responsibilities of the media on an international level than they are today. At that time, all the Western nations supported the proposal for a Convention on the International Right of Correction. Widespread agreement existed in support of establishing an international committee which would be able to issue identification cards to journalists on dangerous assignments on the condition that they pledged to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles of journalistic integrity. The Western countries supported a recommended draft for an international code of ethics for information personnel. 1 of the reassons for the change in attitudes on these issues is that influential media organizations in the US decided that as far as international press issues were concerned they would be better served if governments were not involved. The attitude of rejecting all international negotiations on global mass communication cannot be maintained in the long run. No government can avoid influencing media activities by means of laws, fiscal policies, and government regulations. And, the flow of information continues to transcend national boundaries. The need for international action is increasing, not only as far as allocating frequency bands and satellite capacity is concerned, but also to narrow the gap between South and North and to promote the contribution of the media towards solving the common problems facing humankind. In the 3rd world, it is essential to adopt a long-term perspective on media development. Measures which appear to benefit authoritarian rulers in the short run may prove to promote freedom of the press in a longer perspective. When individuals in a position of power see that people do not trust media which lie about reality in their country, they may recognize the value in freeing the media from political monitoring.
British Journal of Family Planning. 1984 Jul; 10(37):37.This editorial takes a broad, international look at the worldwide implications of decisions taken in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the US with regard to family planning. National authorities, like the U.K. Committee for Safety of Medicines (CSM) of the US Food and Drug Administration, address issues concerning the safety of pharmaceutical products in terms of risk/benefit ratios applicable in their countries. International repercussions of US and U.K. decision making must be considered, especially in the area of pharmaceutical products, where they have an important world leadership role. Much of the adverse publicity of the use of Depo-Provera has focused on the fact that it was not approved for longterm use in the U.K. and the US. It is not equally known that the CSM, IPPF and WHO recommeded approval, but were overruled by the licensing agencies. The controversy caused by the Lancet articles of Professors with family planning doctors. At present several family planning issues in the U.K., such as contraception for minors, have implications for other countries. A campaign is being undertaken to enforce 'Squeal' laws in the U.K. and the US requiring parental consent for their teenagers under 16 to use contraceptives. In some developing countries, urbanization heightens the problem of adolescent sexuality. Carefully designed adolescent programs, stressing the need for adequate counseling, are needed. Many issues of international interest go unnoticed in the U.K. International agencies, like the WHO and UNiCEF, have embarked on a global program to promote lactation both for its benficial effects on an infant's growth and development and for birth spacing effects. It may be of benefit to family planning professionals in the U.K. to pay attention to international activity in such issues.
Report on developments and activities related to population information during the decade since the convening of the World Population Conference, Bucharest, 1974.
New York, United Nations, 1984 Jun. vi, 52 p. (POPIN Bulletin No. 5 ISEA/POPIN/5)A summary of developments in the population information field during the decade 1974-84 is presented. Progress has been made in improving population services that are available to world users. "Population Index" and direct access to computerized on-line services and POPLINE printouts are available in the US and 13 other countries through a cooperating network of institutions. POPLINE services are also available free of charge to requestors from developing countries. Regional Bibliographic efforts are DOCPAL for Latin America. PIDSA for Africa, ADOPT and EBIS/PROFILE. Much of the funding and support for population information activities comes from 4 major sources: 1) UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA): 2) US Agency for International Development (USAID); 3) International Development Research Centre (IRDC): and 4) the Government of Australia. There are important philosophical distinctions in the support provided by these sources. Duplication of effort is to be avoided. Many agencies need to develop an institutional memory. They are creating computerized data bases on funded projects. The creation of these data bases is a major priority for regional population information services that serve developing countries. Costs of developing these information services are prohibitive; however, it is important to see them in their proper perspective. Many governments are reluctant to commit funds for these activites. Common standards should be adopted for population information. Knowledge and use of available services should be increased. The importance os back-up services is apparent. Hard-copy reproductions of items in data bases should be included. This report is primarily descriptive rather than evaluative. However, given the increase in population distribution and changes in government attitudes over the importance of population matters, the main tasks for the next decade should be to build on these foundations; to insure effective and efficient use of services; to share experience and knowledge through POPIN and other networks; and to demonstrate to governments the valuable role of information programs in developing national population programs.
Universitas. 1983 Dec; 25(4):253-63.Unescos reports on the gap existing in mass media between the developed and the developing countries shows that in 1978 the 3rd world countries accounted for 70% of the world population, but only 22% of the published book titles, 9% of newsprint consumption, 18% of the radio receivers, and 12% of the television receivers. The contrast is more noticeable with the extremely marked urban rural gap in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. Although illiteracy is "overleaped" by radio and television, in vast regions of the world participation in the "information-based society" does not go beyond a transistor radio of limited range. The progress in technological development might result in widening further the development gap between North and South in the field of information and communicaton. Research and development are possible almost only in the industrial countries and a few "threshold countries" such as India or Brazil. Satellites, cable networks, or networks of television transmitters confront most developing countries with unsolvable financing problems and human resources needs. While technology can make communications easier in many respects, nearly all developing countries areunable to establish the link to the information-based society with their own resources. Some theorists in North and South either negatethe need for such a link or question it. The international debate in recent years shows that the developing countries recognize both the apparent dangers and the great opportunities of the modern information and communication media: "drop out of the system" has changed to better participation, both in its products and in its control. The essence of the "media declaration" passed by the Unesco general conference in 1978 is a double commitment on the part of the member countries to the goal of a "free flow and a wider and better balanced dissemination of information" and to cooperation in the expedited building up of the inadequate structures in the developing countries. How this commitment is to be realized remains the most important issue for the future. In nearly all developing countries much needs to be done before a functioning media system which reaches all citizens and can be used by everyone is achieved. The Federal Republic of Germany, as a donor country and through government channels, political foundations, and nongovernment organizations, has given 1 billion deutsch marks for media aid to developing countries. The main emphasis is on the supply of equipment and material and on training and consultative assistance. For several years cooperation in the building of new agencies has been a priority, and it is hoped that this will continue so that the media declaration of 1978 can be kept.