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Plan of action for the eradication of harmful traditional practices affecting the health of women and children in Africa.
[Unpublished] 1987. 14 p.The traditional and harmful practices such as early marriage and pregnancy, female circumcision, nutritional taboos, inadequate child spacing, and unprotected delivery continue to be the reality for women in many African nations. These harmful traditional practices frequently result in permanent physical, psychological, and emotional changes for women, at times even death, yet little progress has been realized in abolishing these practices. At the Regional Seminar of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children in Africa, held in Ethiopia during April 1987, guidelines were drawn by which national governments and local bodies along with international and regional organizations might take action to protect women from these unnecessary hazardous traditional practices. These guidelines constitute this "Plan of Action for the Eradication of Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children in Africa." The plan should be implemented within a decade. These guidelines include both shortterm and longterm strategies. Actions to be taken in terms of the organizational machinery are outlined, covering both the national and regional levels and including special support and the use of the mass media. Guidelines are included for action to be taken in regard to childhood marriage and early pregnancy. These cover the areas of education -- both formal and nonformal -- measures to improve socioeconomic status and health, and enacting laws against childhood marriage and rape. In the area of female circumcision, the short term goal is to create awareness of the adverse medical, psychological, social and economic implications of female circumcision. The time frame for this goal is 24 months. The longterm goal is to eradicate female circumcision by 2000 and to restore dignity and respect to women and to raise their status in society. Also outlined are actions to be taken in terms of food prohibitions which affect mostly women and children, child spacing and delivery practices, and legislative and administrative measures. Women in the African region have a critical role to play both in the development of their countries and in the solution of problems arising from the practice of harmful traditions.
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.
Bangkok, Thailand, United Nations, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 1985. iv, 112 p. (Asian Population Studies Series No. 63.)Over the past 3 decades, most of the countries in the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) region have witnessed unprecedented declines in mortality--a phenomenon that has resulted in a remarkable increase in their population size. This paper documents the results of an ESCAP and World Health Organization study to analyze the trends and patterns of mortality in the region, taking into consideration the variability in levels and trends, as well as their antecedents and consequences. Long term objectives are: 1) to investigate the dynamics of mortality change by examining mortality trends in relation to other demographic processes, 2) to examine the implication of observed mortality trends and patterns for existing developmental programs, and 3) to provide a scientific basis for the formulation of intervention policies aimed at the reduction of mortality in the region. The advent of vaccines, major public health programs, effective vector control, antibiotics, and chemotherapeutics are the responsible factors for the sustained transition of mortality after the 1940s and 1950s. The study is divided into 3 phases: 1) phase 1 to be completed by late February 1985; 2) phase 2 to be completed by June 1985; and 3) phase 3 to be completed by January 1986. Background papers address the following issues: 1) the implications of mortality trends and patterns for economic, health, and social welfare planning; 2) future outlook of the mortality situation and mortality projections; and 3) methodological aspects of the study of biological and socioeconomic correlates of mortality.
World plan of action for the implementation of the objectives of the International Women's Year: a summarized version.
New York, New York, United Nations, 1976. 43 p.This booklet's objective is to bring the World Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Women's Year to a wide audience. The 1st section focuses on national action -- overall national policy, national machinery and national legislation, funding, and minimum objectives to be realized by 1980. The 2nd section covers specific areas for national action: international cooperation and the strengthening of international peace; political participation; education and training; employment and related economic roles; health and nutrition; the family in modern society; population; housing and related facilities; and other social questions. The subsequent 4 sections deal with the following: research, data collection and analysis; mass media; international and regional action; and review and appraisal. A major focus of the Plan is to provide guidelines for national action for the 10-year period up to 1985 which the Generaly Assembly, at its 30th session, proclaimed as the Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace. Its recommendations are addressed primarily to governments and to all public and private institutions, political parties, employers, trade unions, nongovernmental organizations, women's and youth groups and all other groups, and the mass communication media. Governments are urged to establish short, medium, and longterm targets and objectives to implement the Plan. The following are among the objectives envisaged as a minimum to be achieved by 1980: literacy and civic education should be significantly increased, especially among rural women; coeducational, technical, and vocational training should be available in both industrial and rural areas; equal access at every level of education, including compulsory primary school education, should be ensured; employment opportunities should be increased, unemployment reduced, and discriminatory employment conditions should be eliminated; infrastructural services should be established and increased, where necessary, in both rural and urban areas; legislation should be introduced, where necessary, to ensure women of voting and electoral rights, equal legal capacity, and equal employment opportunities and conditions; there should be more women in policymaking positions locally, nationally, and internationally; more comprehensive measures for health education, sanitation, nutrition, family education, family planning, and other welfare services should be provided; and equal exercise of civil, social, and political rights should be guaranteed.
Who Chronicle. 1985; 39(5):163-70.The World Conference to appraise the achievements of the UN Decade for Women was held in Nairobi, Kenya during July 1985 and was attended by 6000 delegates. In preparation for the Nairobi conference, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report analyzing the situation regarding women, health, and development and drawing attention to the special health needs of women as well as to the key roles that women play in promoting health and development. Accurate, adequate, and relevant information is essential if appropriate action is to be taken, and much of WHO's efforts during the Decade focused on collecting such information. According to the Director General's report, women's contribution to development is underestimated and their potential is grossly underestimated. Their health status also is conditioned by factors such as employment, education, and social status. Ultimately, women's participation in health and development may even depend on equitable access to economic resources and political power. Thus, the report stresses that it is imperative not to view the health aspects in isolation. The status society accords women is closely linked to their reproductive function. Yet, despite this vital function, girls are valued less than boys in many countries. Nowhere is the inequity in women's status more apparent than in their economic situation. A study on the training and utilization of traditional birth attendants was carried out in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and 3 Member States were then assisted in launching national training programs. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, WHO collaborated with countries in pilot projects for the early detection and treatment of cervical and breast cancer. Legislative and policy issues relative to the welfare of women also have been studied. Among the subjects coverd have been the protection of working mothers, measures governing the minimum legal age of marriage, and harmful traditional practices. The grassroots organizations are the primary focus of WHO's strategy for involving women's organizations in primary health care since they serve the poor and the powerless and their goal is usually to satisfy the immediate needs of their members. WHO has initiated a multinational study on women as providers of health care, in which 17 Member States have participated. The Joint WHO/UNICEF Nutrition Support Program, initiated in 1982, supports action to improve the nutritional status of women and children.
New York, New York, United Nations, 1985. v, 58 p. (Economic and Social Council Official Records, 1985. Supplement No. 10; E/1985/31; E/ICEF/1985/12)The major decisions of the UN Children's Fund Executive Board in their 1985 session were to: approve several new program recommendations and endores a major emergency assistance program for several African countries; approve initiatives to accelerate the implementation of child survival and development actions, particularly towards the goal of achieving universal immunization of children against 6 major childhood diseases by 1990; adopt a comprehensive policy framework for UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) programs concerning women; approve UNICEF revised budget estimates for 1984-85 and budget estimates for 1986-87; and make a number of decisions on ways to improve the administration and the role of the Board. The Board members both reported on and heard evidence of the encouraging results of recent efforts to implement national child survival and development programs. Reports of the successful immunization campaigns in Burkina Faso, Colombia, El Salvador, and Nigeria were welcomed, along with the news that half a million children were saved during the year through the use of oral rehydration therapy. Stronger efforts were encouraged to improve results in the areas of breastfeeding and growth monitoring. Implementation issues in connection with child survival and development actions were a continuing focus of Board attention during the session. The accelerated implementation of child survival and development actions was accorded the highest priority in approving the medium-term plan for 1984-88. The Board also adopted a resolution that sought to draw the attention of world leaders, during their observance of the 40th anniversary of the UN, to the importance of reaffirming their commitment to accelerate the implementation of the child survival and development resolution and realizing universal immunization by 1990. Delegations commended the results of the World Health Organization/UNICEF joint nutrition support program but noted that malnutrition among women and children appeared to be increasing. Water supply and sanitation activities were encouraged, and the Board stressed that those actions should be linked with health and hygiene education. The Board endorsed the report on recent UNICEF activities in Africa. Many delegations spoke in support of the increased aid to Africa. Major emphasis was given to linking emergency responses with ongoing UNICEF programs. The Board approved new multi-year commitments from general resources totalling $303,053,422 for 28 country and interregional programs and noted 32 projects totaling $223,215,000 to be funded from specific-purpose contributions. The Board stressed the importance of ensuring that child survival and development actions were integrated with continuing efforts in other of UNICEF action. The Board approved a commitment of $252,550,443 for the budget for the biennium 1986-87.
After Mexico: NGOs and the follow-up to the International Conference on Population. Summary report of the Fourth Annual NGO/UNFPA Consultation on Population in New York (March 6, 1985).
New York, New York, UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service, 1985. 50 p.This Summary Report of the Fourth Annual Nongovernmental Organizations/UN Fund for Population Activities (NGO/UNFPA) contains the following: an opening statement of David Poindexter, Director, Communication Centre of the Population Institute; a presentation devoted to opportunities for action by Bradman Weerakoon, Secretary General, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); a discussion of global population realities by Sheldon Segal, Director, Population Sciences of the Rockefeller Foundation; panel discussions on the topic of patterns of NGO action; reports from workshop groups (environment, development and population; role and status of women; health and population; reproduction and the family; population policies and funding; population and children; population and youth; and population and aging); a report on financing global population programs, given by Barbara Hertz, Senior Economist, World Bank; discussion of the implementation of the Mexico mandate, Rafael M. Salas, Under Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Director of the UNFPA; recommendations of the Mexico City Conference which refer to the NGO role in followup; and some background material. Recommendations of the workshop groups for ongoing NGO action in the field of population include: linkages between environment, development, and population to be more carefully delineated; the need for the voice of women to be heard at all levels by those formulating population policies and for the status of women to be considered by all as essential to the population issue; couples to be offered a full range of contraceptive choices; all family members to have access to reproductive health information, sex education, and family planning services; organizations to look for multiple sources of funding and to become less reliant on a single source of funding for population and health related activities; support of programs which promote women's development; governments to prepare youth better for their roles within their own countries; and the leadership role of the elderly to be facilitated and utilized in the areas of education, communication, and influencing policies at the village, regional, national, and international level.
World Health. 1985 Apr; 19-20.The roles of women in the Eastern Mediterranean region tend to be determined by strong local traditions. In most of the countries concerned, traditional family life makes a clear separation between the parts played by women and men. Men dominate the "public" sphere; women assume full responsibility for the home domain. The 130 million women of this region are active and industrious but largely illiterate. They live in many instances beyond the reach of either governmental or nongovernmental services intended for their well being and development. Weakened by repeated pregnancies and endemic diseases, and sometimes by harmful traditional practices, the women of the region present a health profile that is on the whole poor. In most countries of the region, the percentages of women included in the labor force are among the lowest in the world. Yet "nonsalaried" women -- peasants or housewives -- carry huge responsibilities which may prevent them from spending time on health promotion and family care. Their heavy workload does not count as "employment, and they are not covered by protective legislation. In practice, only a small percentage of women claim their political rights. The natural leadership potential of women, which could be developed and deployed along lines compatible with local tradition, has not yet been recognized. A "women's dimension" has now been added to all World Health Organization (WHO) programs and projects in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, in conformity with resolutions passed during the UN Decade for Women. Maternal and child health and family health head the list of programs bearing directly on women's health. Family health projects aim to improve women's "reproductive health." Looking to the future, the progressive increase in school enrollment among the younger female generation and the gradual improvement in socioeconomic conditions taking place in many Member States of the region are expected to augment the status and well-being of women in their own right as well as the part played by women in health and development.
Who Chronicle. 1984; 38(6):249-55.This article highlights the central features of the 5-Year Regional Plan of Action on Women in Health and Development, adopted by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in 1981. Although the Plan does not mandate specific actions, it encourages certain activities and establishes an annual reporting system concerning these activities. The Plan recognizes that women's health depends upon numerous factors outside of medicine, including women's employment, education, social status, and accepted roles, access to economic resources, and political power. The low status of women is reinforced by the sexual double standard that makes women responsible for the reproductive process yet denies them the right to control that process. The Plan advocates an incremental approach, in which projects 1st focus on priority areas and groups and then expand to provide more general benefits. Programs exclusively for women are not advocated; encouraged, instead, is the integration of women's health and development activities into the mainstream of general activities promoting health. Among the areas targeted for action are the collection of statistics on women's health, women's nutritional problems, environmental health, maternal-child health services, screening for breast and cervical cancer, and family planning . Community participation is proposed as a good vehicle for local action and an essential tool in the campaign for health for all. Efforts must be made to enlist women's support in identifying community needs, planning health actions, selecting appropriate resources and personnel, establishing and administering health services, and evaluating the results. Overall, the Plan provides a solid basis upon which health authorities of the Americas can build.