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Knowledge, perceptions and attitudes of Islamic scholars towards reproductive health programs in Borno State, Nigeria.
African Journal of Reproductive Health. 2007; 11(1):98-106.Some reproductive health policies and activities of international development organizations continued to be criticized by some religious groups. Such criticisms can be serious obstacles in the provision of reproductive health and rights information and services in many communities. This study was conducted to find the knowledge, perception and attitude of Islamic scholars on reproductive health programs and to get some suggestions on the scholars' role in the planning and implementation of reproductive health advocacy and programming. The data were collected by in-depth interview with representative sample of selected Muslim scholars in and around Maiduguri town in Borno State, Nigeria. All the scholars had vague or no idea of what reproductive health is all about. When they were explaining reproductive health, most of the scholars mentioned some of the rights of women especially the need for maintaining the good health of women and their children as reproductive health. Even though they have poorknowledge, all the Muslim scholars interviewed believed that reproductive health is an essential component of healthy living and the programs of the international development organizations are mostly good, but they have reservations and concern to certain campaigns and programs. Scholars that promised their contributions in enhancing reproductive health have a common condition for their continuous support to any international development organization or reproductive health program. Conformity to Islamic norms and principles are prerequisites to their loyalties. The scholars also advised the international development organizations on the need to identify themselves clearly, so that people know from where they are coming, what are their background, and the program that they want to do and the reasons for doing the program in the community. (author's)
[People's perception of diseases: an exploratory study of popular beliefs, attitudes and practices regarding immunizable diseases]
Dhaka, Bangladesh, Worldview International Foundation, 1987 Nov.  p.Researchers interviewed 57 mothers and 27 heads of family in predominantly rural areas about 135km from the capital city of Dhaka, Bangladesh to learn about their perception of diseases. They also talked with 3 traditional healers and 8 influential people in the different locales, e.g., teachers and imams. They learned that each vaccine preventable disease has at least 1 local name rooted in popular beliefs, e.g., all local names for poliomyelitis are associated with an ominous wind. Generally, the local people believe that witches or evil spirits cause all the vaccine preventable diseases. These entities prefer attacking babies, but also are known to afflict women. A preventive measure practiced includes pregnant women never leaving the house in the evening, at noon, or at midnight since these are the times when they are most exposed to evil spirits. There exist 2 traditional healers--fakirs and kabiraj. Fakirs use mystic words with religious chants and perform various healing rituals. The kabiraj sometimes use healing rituals, but also prescribe indigenous medicines. This research provides some useful insights into WHO's Expanded Programme on Immunization in developing communication strategies which build on what people already know. For example, since the local people believe that evil spirits or witches attack the newborn immediately after birth may provide an incentive for early immunization. Since preventing illness and death in newborns is a goal of both modern and traditional medicine, it is likely that the local people are not so concerned with the real cause of illness and will accept any practice that keeps their infant healthy and that fits into their beliefs and perceptions.
NETWORK. 1993 Mar; 13(3):6-10.70 million women worldwide now use oral contraceptives (OCs), but many more women could use them if it were not for some medical attitudes, regulations, or practices preventing them from using OCs. For example, in the US, adolescents may need their parent's permission, even though the services cost nothing. 30 years of research on OCs, the most studied family planning method ever, show that they are a convenient, effective contraceptive. These medical practices and attitudes which limit access to OCs cannot be justified scientifically, particularly when weighing the risk of pregnancy. In fact, the only group of women at high risk of using OCs are smokers older than 35 years. Prescribing practices and safeguards when OCs were first marketed were necessary because the medical community knew little about them, but today they are needless barriers to access. Some unnecessary precautions are restricting OCs to women who have already experienced childbirth and OC users needing a rest period. Today's OCs have much lower doses than the earlier OCs. Many conditions once considered to be absolute contraindications should now be considered signs to closely monitor OC users. Moreover, present US guidelines for progestin-only OCs list contraindications which actually apply to combined OCs that contain estrogen and not to progestin-only OCs, e.g., lactation, yet progestin-only OCs are ideal for lactating women. WHO and other groups have joined together to standardize eligibility criteria for OCs at the international level. INTRAH has already produced some guidelines to get rid of the complicated method of classifying contraindications. Other barriers to OC use are requirements of undergoing a physical examination of having blood drawn. Adequate counseling can screen for contraindications as well as, or perhaps better than, exams and blood tests.
[Unpublished] 1991. Presented at the Demographic and Health Surveys World Conference, Washington, D.C., August 5-7, 1991. 32 p.Brazil's National Survey of Maternal-Child Health and Family Planning, conducted in 1986 as part of the international program of Demographic and Health Surveys, consolidated and extended the findings of 9 previous state-level surveys. This work outlines the impact of survey data on Brazil's private sector family planning organizations, donor agencies, the press and opinion leaders, and the federal government and legislators. The finding of the survey that the rate of contraceptive usage among women aged 15-44 married or in union was much higher than expected at 65.4%, initially suggested that the family planning organizations and donors had completed their tasks, but more careful scrutiny pointed up serious problems. Family planning problems identified in the survey included low levels of knowledge and use of contraception in the impoverished northeast and among groups with low levels of income and education; a very high proportion of users (80%) of just 2 methods, oral contraceptives (OCs) and female sterilization; low rates of use of other effective and reversible methods; a large number of unnecessary caesareans performed only to give the woman access to sterilization services, with fully 72% of sterilized women undergoing the procedure during a cesarean delivery; low average age (31.4 years) of sterilization acceptors and low parity of a substantial proportion; use of pharmacies to obtain supplies by over 93% of OC users and OC use at inappropriate ages; low male participation in family planning; and lack of family planning services for adolescents. The survey demonstrated the reality of family planning in Brazil and prompted a rethinking of the aims and goals of family planning programs. Many aspects of maternal-child health and sexual and reproductive health in addition to provision of contraceptives should be included in a high quality family planning program. The survey findings did not completely resolve all the polemics and controversies that have beset the family planning program in Brazil, but they helped dispel some charges against the program. For the most part, only the most strongly ideological opponents have remained unmoved.
AIDS AND SOCIETY. 1991 Jan-Feb; 2(2):1, 6, 12-3.The political constraints slowing the battle against AIDS in Africa are getting AIDS on the public agenda, integrating the international community into the AIDS policy-making agenda and cultural barriers in national AIDS strategies. Policy making in most Africa is bureaucratic rather than democratic, so whether AIDS is a government priority depends largely on perception of AIDS risk by the leaders. In Zambia and Uganda, AIDS is a concern because it affects the ethnic group or family in power, while in Tanzania and Kenya, AIDS is associated with minority or "high risk" groups. The domination of AIDS agenda setting within nations in Africa by international donors and non-governmental organizations is a problem, made more severely severed by sensitivity of Africans who perceive research as a foreign effort to prove that AIDS originated there. Foreign domination is also detrimental because it prevents localities from becoming committed to AIDS interventions. Cultural barriers against effective interventions are similar to those in Western countries: AIDS is seen as a disease of shame affecting immoral people. In addition, the prevalent concept of fatalism defeats the Western insistence on intervention and strategies. Furthermore, women who are largely dependent on men cannot insist on preventive behavior, not do they have organizations in place to protect their rights. Finally, the concepts of behavioralism, and learning new behaviors for person-centered reasons, are foreign to much of Africa.