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MIDWIVES CHRONICLE. 1985 Jul; 98(1170):200-1.At the April meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), experts in occupational health concluded that there is no evidence to justify the exclusion of women from any type of employment. Yet, they simultaneously underscored the need for conditions in places of work to be adapted to women, and in particular to those women employed in manual work, whether agriculture or manufacture. This was WHO's 1st meeting on the subject of health and the working woman. According to the experts, anatomical and physiological differences between men and women should not limit job opportunities. As more and more women enter the work force, machines need to be redesigned to take into account the characteristics of working women. In industries where strength is a requirement, e.g., mining, a certain level of body strength and size should be established and applied to both sexes. Also recommended were measures to protect women of childbearing age, who form the majority of women in the work force, against the hazards of chemicals -- gases, lead, solder fumes, sterilizing agents, pesticides -- and other threats to health deriving from the work places. Chemicals or ionizing radiation absorbed into the body could lead to mutagenicity, not only of women but also of men. In cases where a woman has conceived, mutagenicity could mean fetal death, or, where damage is done to sperm or ovum, lead to congenital malformation and to leukemia in newborns. Solvents so absorbed could appear in breast milk, thus poisoning the baby. Ionizing radiation, used in several industrial operations, also has been linked to breast cancer. As women increasingly take jobs that once used to be done solely by men, more needs to be known about the hazards of their health and of the psychosocial implications of long working hours. The following were included among recommendations made to increase knowledge and to protect health: that epidemiological studies be conducted in the risk of working women as well as more research on the effects of chemicals on pregnant workers; that working women be allowed to breastfeed children for at least 6 months at facilities set up at work places; and that information and health education programs be carried out to alert women against occupational health hazards.
Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 1972. 40 p. (World Health Organization Technical Report Series No. 485)A World Health Organization (WHO) Scientific Group met in Geneva in 1971 to discuss human development and public health. A review is made of the scientific knowledge of various needs and opportunities for intervention that occur during the cycle of human development. Economic, social, genetic and perinatal factors were discussed. Family planning, nutrition, and infection were all looked at in relation to human development. The phases and events of human development require a co-ordinated approach by workers in many different disciplines. A holistic approach should guide in setting the focus of public health programs. Broad, interdisciplinary research is required to examine specific factors and also to investigate the relationships among various factors. More research is required on the effects of the environment and on educational content and methods that will prepare children to live in a world of rapid change. research is recommended on the relationship between genetics and malnutrition and the long-term effects of perinatal factors on growth and development. Collaborative epidemiological studies of human reproduction should be extended to include health parameters of growth and development. Many research questions were defined in the area of nutrition. Recommendations for immediate action included public health action to interrupt the synergism of malnutrition and infection and to ensure that every mother receives prenatal and postnatal health care. Regional conferences should be convened to discuss needed policy changes to improve human development.
Social Science and Medicine. 1985; 21(12):1345-7.The author examines whether traditional medicine promotes biopsychosocial fulfillment in African health and argues that every society has its own method of managing illness and controlling the environment. In African societies, traditional medicine remains the major way of coping with illness; for some 80% of the population, primary health care is synonymous with traditional medicine. Just as any society would not negotiate its sociocultural imperatives for those of a borrowed culture, it is vital for societies to maintain their significant cultural 'idioms' such as African traditional medicine. It is a form of domestic health care based on general medical knowledge and practised within the family that represents a system of ordering, classifying, and explaining illness, as well as elaborate concepts of treatment. Often, traditional medicine is used as a "psychological opium" in the relief of pain or suffering by creating a sense of societal membership and self-awareness in the face of fear and death. Biopsychosocial health can be equated with the World Health Organization's definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity; insofar as this is true, African traditional medicine promotes the biopsychosocial fulfillment of African health needs.
Comparative study of social and biological effects on perinatal mortality. Etude comparative des effets des facteurs sociaux et biologiques sur la mortalite perinatle.
World Health Statistics Report. Rapport de Statistiques Sanitaires Mondiales. 1976; 29(4):228-34.The World Health Organization's (WHO) comparative study, in 8 countries (Austria, Cuba, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, UK, and the US), of social and biological effects on perinatal mortality is discussed, including the background and the objectives of the study, reportingon the progress achieved thus far, and some of the results likely to emerge. Perinatal mortality, as currently defined, comprises late fetal deaths (stillbirths) and early neonatal deaths, i.e., it includes deaths between the 28th week of pregnancy and the end of the 1st week after birth. In developed countries between 1.6-4% of all pregnancies result in perinatal death. Although many less developed countries give priority to the reduction of postneonatal and early childhoo mortality, with increasing success in their efforts, the hard core of perinatal mortality will gain in importance. Perinatal mortality may be considered as reflecting standards of obstetric and pediatric care as well as the effectiveness of social measures in general and of public health actions in particular. In a 1968 joint UN/WHO Meeting on Programs of Analysis of Mortality Trends and Levels reference was made to the serious gaps in knowledge of the magnitude and determinants of perinatal mortality. In a 1971 follow-up, WHO Consultation on Fetal, infant, and Childhood Mortality, it was recommended that WHO initiate and coordinate studies of the biological, socioeconomic, and cultural factors associated with perinatal mortality and that detailed guidelines for the collection, classification, and tabulation of these biological, socioeconomic, and cultural factors for both national and international purposes be worked out. The proposed study would have the following general objectives: it would serve as a stimulus to countries to make better use of the information to be derived from vital statistics and would encourage detailed studies of the determinants of perinatal mortality and their interrelationships as a basis for the planning of public health programs designed to reduced perinatal mortality; it would enable WHO to obtain precise and detailed information on the significance and the international comparability of perinatal mortality rates and would provide a basis for WHO to develop guidelines concerning the collection, processing, and presentation of national perinatal mortality data as an important part of a national health information system. To achieve the general objectives a draft study protocol was developed. The specific aims established for the study are outlined. More attention will be directed to the problem of perinatal mortality and how it might be reduced.