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World Health. 1985 Nov; 13-15.In November 1980, Dr. Halfdan Mahler, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), and James Grant, head of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), drafted a joint program to improve the nutritional status of children and women through developmental measures based on primary health care. The government of Italy agreed to fund in full the estimated cost of US$85.3 million. When a tripartite agreement was signed in Rome in April 1982, the WHO/UNICEF Joint Nutrition Support Program (JNSP) came into being. It was agreed that resources would be concentrated in a number of countries to develop both demonstrable and replicable ways to improve nutrition. Thus far, projects are underway or are just starting in 17 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In most of these countries, infant and toddler mortality rates are considerably higher than the 3rd world averages. Program objectives include reducing infant and young child diseases and deaths and at the same time improving child health, growth, and development as well as maternal nutrition. These objectives require attention to be directed to the other causes of malnutrition as well as diet and food. JNSP includes nutrition and many other activities, such as control of diarrhea. The aim of all activities is better nutritional status leading to better health and growth and lower mortality. Feeding habits and family patterns differ from 1 country to another as do the JNSP country projects. Most JNSP projects adopt a multisectoral approach, incorporating varied activities that directly improve nutritional status. Activities involve agriculture and education as well as health but are only included if they can be expected to lead directly to improved nutrition. A multisectoral program calls for multisectoral management and involves coordination at all levels -- district, provincial, and national. This has been one of the most difficult things to get moving in many JNSP projects, yet it is one of the most important. Community participation is vital to all projects. Its success can only be judged as the projects unfold, but early experiences from several countries are encouraging.
Who Chronicle. 1984; 38(3):109-15.The theme of the 1984 World Health Day--children's health, tomorrow's wealth--provides an occasion to convey to a worldwide audience the message that children are a priceless resource, and that any nation which neglects them does so at its peril. World Health Day 1984 spotlights the basic truth that the healthy minds and bodies of the world's children must be safeguard, not only as a key factor in attaining health for all by 2000, but also as a major part of each nation's health in the 21st century. An investment in child health is a direct entry point to improved social development, productivity, and quality of life. Care of child health starts before conception, through postponement of the 1st pregnancy until the mother herself has reached full physical maturity, and through spacing of births. It continues from conception on, through suitable care during pregnancy, childbirth, and childhood. In the developing countries the child must be protected by all available means, particularly from the killer diseases. What happens in the immediate family and community around the mother and child, and even far away in the world, can have a direct impact on the health and security of both of them. The mother and child need to be placed in an environment that will ensure their health by protecting the overall setting in which they live. This means providing clean water, disposing of waste, and helping to improve shelter. Nothing can diminish the importance of good food, enough food, and proper nutrition for children and their mothers. Beyond the immediate physical needs are the equally important needs for love and understanding which stimulate the healthy development of the child. The emergence of new health problems of mothers and children in developing and developed countries should be kept in mind. Better health services must be made available to all who need them. The World Health Organization (WHO) provided resource material on World Health Day issues for dissemination throughout the world. Extracts from 4 articles on this year's theme are reproduced. The articles report on the success of the Rural Health Center in Ballabhgarh (India) in reducing maternal and infant mortality, the value of breastfeeding as 1 of the simplest and safest ways of ensuring adequate spacing of births, Tunisia's integration of a program of immunization into the routine activities of the health care system, and the needs of the healthy child.
Alternative approaches to meeting basic health needs in developing countries: a joint UNICEF/WHO study.
Geneva, World Health Organization, 1975. 116 p.Based on the failure of conventional health services and approaches to make any appreciable impact on the health problems of developing populations, this study examined successful or promising systems of delivery of primary health care to identify the key factors in their success and the effect of some of these factors in the development of primary health care within various political, economic, and administrative frameworks. In the selection of new approaches for detailed study, emphasis was placed on actual programs that are potentially applicable in different sociopolitical settings and on programs explicitly recognizing the influence of other social and economic sectors such as agriculture and education on health. Information was gathered from a wide range of sources; including members, meeting reports, and publications of international organizations and agencies, gathered country representatives, and field staff. The 1st section, world poverty and health, focuses on the underprivileged, the glaring contrasts in health, and the obstacles to be overcome--problems of broad choices and approaches, resources, general structure of health services, and technical weasknesses. The main purpose of the case studies described in the 2nd part was to single out, describe, and discuss their most interesting characteristics. The cases comprised 2 major categories: programs adopted nationally in China, Cuba, Tanzania, and, to a certain extent, Venezuela, and schemes covering limited areas in Bangladesh, India, Niger, and Yugoslavia. Successful national programs are characterized by a strong political will that has transformed a practicable methodology into a national endeavor. In all countries where this has happened, health has been given a high priority in the government's general development program. Enterprise and leadership are also found in the 2nd group of more limited schemes. Valuable lessons, both technical and operational, can be derived from this type of effort. In all cases, the leading role of a dedicated individual can be clearly identified. There is also evidence that community leaders and organizations have given considerable support to these projects. External aid has played a part and apparently been well used. Every effort should be made to determine the driving forces behind promising progams and help harness them to national plans.