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World Health Forum. 1983; 4(2):157-61.In developing countries, the delivery of basic health care services is often hampered by communications problems. A pilot project in Guyana, involving 2-way radio in 9 medex (medical extension) locations, was funded by USAID (United States Aid for International Development). A training manual was prepared, and a training workshop provided the medex workers with practical experience in using the radios. The 2-way radios have facilitated arrangements for the transport of goods, hastened arrangements for leave, and shortened delays in correspondence and other administrative matters. Communication links enable rural health workers to treat patients with the advice of a doctor and allow doctors to monitor patient progress. Remote medex workers report that regular radio contacts with their colleagues have lessened their sense of isolation, boosted their morale, and helped build their confidence. 1 important element of the project was the training given to the field workers in proper use of the radio and in basic maintenance. Another key to the success of the system appears to be the strength and professionalism of the medex organization itself. Satellite systems may eventually prove to be the most cost effective means of providing rural telephone and broadcasting services and may also be designed to include dedicated medical communications networks at very little additional cost.
New York, New York, UNFPA, May 1983. 74 p. (Report No. 55)Reports on the need for population assistance in Thailand. Areas are identified which require assistance to achieve self-reliance in formulating and implementing population programs. Thailand has had a family planning program since 1970 and UNFPA has been assisting population projects and programs in Thailand since 1971. A Basic Needs Assessment Mission visited the country in April 1981. Thailand is experiencing a rapid decline in the population growth rate and mortality rates have been declining for several decades. The Mission makes recommendations for population assistance and identifies priority areas for assistance, such as population policy formation; data collection; demographic research; health and family planning; population information, education, and communication; and women and development. The Mission recommends that all population efforts be centralized in a single agency with no other function. Thailand is also in need of more personnel in key agencies dealing with population matters. The Mission also recommends that external aid be sought for technical assistance and that population projections be revised based on the 1980 census. Thailand has made a great deal of progress in developing its health infrastructure and services, but some problems still remain, especially in areas of staff recruitment and deployment and in providing rural services. The Mission also recommends that external assistance be continued for short term training seminars and workshops abroad for professionals. Seminars should be organized to assist officials in understanding the importance of population factors in their areas.
New York, N.Y., United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]  54 p. (Population Profiles No. 20)This review traces how various population programs in Africa have evolved since the 1960s. Before the establishment of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) in the late 1960s, the efforts of private groups or non-governmental organizations in the areas of family planning, are highlighted. The vital contribution of private donors in facilitating the work of the Fund in Africa is given emphasis throughout the review. Early studies show that family planning activities in Africa, and governmental population policies fall into a definite pattern within the continent and that the distribution of colonial empires was a major determinant of that pattern. In most of Africa, the 1st stirrups of the family planning movement began during the colonial period. During the 1960s there was marked increase in the demand for family planning services. Lack of official government recognition and not enough assistancy from external sources made early family planning programs generally weak. The shortage of trained personnel, the unsureness of government support, opposition from the Roman Catholic Church to population control, and the logistics of supplying folk in remote rural areas who held traditional attitudes, all posed serious problems. The main sectors of the Fund's activities are brought into focus to illustrate the expansion of population-related programs and their relevance to economic and social development in Africa. The Fund's major sectors of activity in the African region include basic data collection on population dynamics and the formulation and implementation of policies and programs. Family planning, education and communication and other special programs are also important efforts within the Fund's multicector approach. The general principles applied by UNFPA in the allocation of its resources and the sources and levels of current finding are briefly discussed and the Fund's evaluation methodology is outlined. A number of significant goals have been achieved in the African region during the past 15 years through UNFPA programs, most prominently; population censuses, data collection and analysis, demographic training and reseaqrch, and policy formulation after identification of need. This monograph seeks to provide evidence for the compelling need for sustained commitment to population programs in Africa, and for continuing international support and assistance to meet the unmet needs of a continent whose demographic dynamism is incomparably greater than that of any other part of the world.