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  1. 1

    Breastfeeding and health care services.

    Jolly R

    In: Proceedings of the Interagency Workshop on Health Care Practices Related to Breastfeeding, December 7-9, 1988, Leavey Conference Center, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., edited by Miriam Labbok and Margaret McDonald with Mark Belsey, Peter Greaves, Ted Greiner, Margaret Kyenkya-Isabirye, Chloe O'Gara, James Shelton. [Washington, D.C., Georgetown University Medical Center, Institute for International Studies in Natural Family Planning, 1988]. 7 p.. (USAID Contract No. DPE-3040-A-00-5064-00)

    Breastfeeding is on the decline in most countries, despite the fact it can help prevent the 38,000 daily deaths of infants and young children through its nutritional, immunologic, and sanitary aspects. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) have combined to issue guidelines on the role of maternity services in promoting breastfeeding. In the most developed countries, breastfeeding has increased despite generally unsupportive hospital environments, the availability of clean water, and the fact that breastfeeding was virtually a lost practice in these countries 40 years ago. An increased awareness of the benefits, some of which are outlined, coupled with mother-to-mother support are most likely to have influenced this increase. The guidelines developed by WHO/UNICEF seek to put into practice specific recommendations agreed upon by pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, nutritionists, nurses, midwives, and other health care providers in national and international forums. The main points of the guidelines are as follows: every facility providing maternity services should develop a policy on breastfeeding, communicate it to all staff, define specific practices to implement the policy, and ensure that all staff are adequately trained in the skills necessary to ensure implementation of the policy; facilities for 24-hour rooming-in, initiation of breastfeeding immediately after delivery, and demand-feeding are essential in every maternity ward; every pregnant mother should be informed fully about how breast milk is formed, the proper way to nurse a child, and the benefits of breastfeeding; and harmful practices, such as the use of bottles and teats for newborn infants, should be eliminated during this early period and exclusive breastfeeding maintained for at least 4-6 months from birth. These activities, when fully implemented, will ensure that every mother/infant couple reached prenatally, at birth, and postnatally gets off to a good start. Then, other support services will be more effective. These standards have been successful in the field and have had a positive impact on the rates of breastfeeding. A need exists for collaboration and an interdisciplinary approach to the promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding, and, hopefully, this workshop is the first of a series of technical consultations.
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  2. 2

    The Joint WHO/UNICEF Nutrition Support Programme.

    Gurney M

    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.
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  3. 3

    United Nations Children's Fund: report of the Executive Board (15-26 April 1985).

    UNICEF. Executive Board

    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.
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  4. 4

    No development without grass-roots action.

    Grant JP

    Development: Seeds of Change. 1984; 2:66-7.

    UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) experience over the last 20 years suggests that successful development for poor people is not possible without substantial grassroots involvement. This is the experience both in the developing and in industrialized countries. In the 1960s it became increasingly clear to UNICEF that if programs were to succeed with the small and landless farmers and the urban slum dwellers, there was no possibility of finding enough money to meet needs of these people through governmental channels. It was equally clear that in most places the existing patterns of development andeconomic growth would not reach these people until the year 2000 or thereabots. It was this that led UNICEF to adopt its basic services approach in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which implied that the cost of the most needed basic health services, education, and water had to be reduced to manageable limits. At this stage UNICEF began to articulate the imperative of using paraprofessionals, the need for much greater use of technology that was appropriate to rural and slum areas, and the importance of involving the people in this effort. Looking at those low income countries which have managed to achieve longer life expectancy and higher literacy rates, they are all societies which have practiced much more people's participation in economic and social activities than most other countries. These 3 very different societies -- China, South Korea, and Sri Lanka -- all have had a rather unique degree of people's participation in the development process. Grassroots participation in development is a very important element in developing and in industrial countries. 1 example concerns the whole question of proper nutrition practices, the promotion of breastfeeding, and the problem of the infant formula code. It was the people's groups which picked up the research results in the 1960s, which showed that breastfeeding was a better and more nutritious way of feeding children. The 2nd example pertains to the US government recommendation of significant cuts in UNDP and UNICEF, and the refusal of Congress to give in to those cuts. In regard to the developing countries, over the last year it has increasingly become the consensus of international experts that a childrens' health revolutioon is possible. The conclusion was based upon the fact that there were 2 new sets of developments coming together that created this new opportunity: some new technological advances in the development of rural rehydration therapy; and the capacity to communicate with poor people. With the whole emphasis on the basic human needs of the last 10 years, and on primary health care in the last 5 years, literally millions of health auxiliaries and community workers have been trained, a group of people who, if a country can mobilize them, can provide a new form of access.
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  5. 5

    Alternative approaches to meeting basic health needs in developing countries: a joint UNICEF/WHO study.

    Djukanovic V; Mach EP

    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.
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  6. 6

    Statistics on children in UNICEF countries.


    New York, UNICEF, 1984 May. 280 p.

    The data in this set of 135 country profiles for 1981 are made up from 9 major sources and cover the countries and territories with which the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) cooperates. In terms of infant morttality, countries are divided into 5 infant mortality groups: a very high infant mortality (a) group of countries, with a 1981 infant mortality rate (IMR) estimate of 150 (rounded) or more deaths per 1000 live births; a very high infant mortality (b) group of countries with a 1981 IMR estimate between 110 (rounded) and 140 (rounded); a high infant mortality group of a middle infant mortality group of countries, with a 1981 IMR estimate of between 26 and 50 (rounded); and a low infnat mortality group of countries, with a 1981 IMR estimate of 25 or less. For each country data are also presented on nutrition, demographic, education, and economic indicators.
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