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[Unpublished] 1988. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 21-23, 1988. , 23,  p.For sub-Saharan countries, population censuses are crucial in obtaining data about local areas, sociodemographic characteristics, and input for development and policy making. Most sub-Saharan countries cannot afford to fund censuses, and external assistance has been provided by UNFPA, the US, the United Kingdom, and France. The World Bank has recently become involved in supporting census work, and coordination between all these groups is critical. 5 critical areas for making effective use of scarce resources are: country commitment; improved donor coordination; management and planning; institutionalization of census capabilities; and improvement of production, dissemination, and use of census data. Country commitment is affected by fund shortages, and political sensitivities. Census work should depend on agricultural seasons, the school year, and migratory movements. Donor coordination in the areas of funding, data analysis, and technical assistance is important. Planning for future censuses should begin 2-3 years before the actual census date, and management of the census should include short-term training and technical assistance from donor countries. The institutionalization of census activities should address the weakest link in census work--data processing. Lengthy delays in processing data because of nonstandardized equipment, limited access, and lack of skilled personnel have hampered census efforts. A fully configured microcomputer system would also address this problem. Publication and dissemination of census data, sometimes delayed as much as 8 years, could be improved by the use of timely microcomputer reports of preliminary results. Attention to these 5 key areas will improve the 1990 round of censuses, and efficiently use the limited resources available.
Who Chronicle. 1985; 39(5):171-5.The need exists to encourage developing countries to produce their own learning materials to meet the specific requirements of their own health personnel and to create a structure capable of functioning independently after any external funds and technical assistance have been phased out. In 1981, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN National Development Program established a joint Interregional Health Learning Materials (HLM) Program. It began with a small number of pilot projects in selected countries, the intention being to extend it gradually to other countries in the light of experience. The program is aimed at helping developing countries to produce their own teaching and learning materials adapted to their special needs and encouraging them to work together and build up a network for sharing materials and expertise. An HLM project is part of a national program and makes use of local staff and infrastructure. Both teachers and students help in preparing the learning materials. A number of national projects are now in operation, producing teaching aids, manuals, slides, guides for teachers, and textbooks for use in the field, all of which are in line with national health priorities and goals and many of which are shared with other projects. Of the countries in which HLM projects are in operation, all but 1 are in Africa. The only exception thus far is Nepal, although a project has been requested by Fiji. Technical cooperation between the African projects is beginning to make headway, despite initial problems because of differences in language. For national reliance to be achieved, the training of key staff is essential. For this purpose, WHO is collaborating with the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) in Nairobi, a nongovernmental organization with many years of experience in developing teaching materials for health workers in Africa. Special emphasis is now being given to the training of national project staff in the application of microcomputers. The aim is ultimately for external support to be no longer needed. The national plan for each HLM project foresees the withdrawal of external support after 5 years. By that time the project should have a core of trained staff, the necessary equipment, and an established HLM unit within the national system and should be self-reliant in planning, testing, producing, and evaluating teaching and learning materials for its own health personnel. The production of health learning materials must clearly be part of an integrated plan for health manpower development.
ESCAP/POPIN Expert Working Group on Development of Population Information Centres and Networks, 20-23 June 1984, Bangkok, Thailand.
Population Headliners. 1984 Jul; (112 Suppl):1-6.An overview of current population information programs at the regional, national, and global level was presented at a meeting of the Expert Working Group on Development of Population Information Centres and Networks. On the global level, the decentralized Population Information Network (POPIN) was established, consisting of population libraries, clearinghouses, information systems, and documentation centers. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Regional Population Information Centre (PIC) has actively promoted the standardization of methodologies for the collection and processing of data, the use of compatible terminology, adoption of classification systems, computer-assisted data and information handling, and improved programs of publication and infomration dissemination, within and among national centers. Among the national PICs, 83% are attached to the primary national family planning/fertility control unit and 17% are attached to demographic data, research, and analysis units. Lack of access to specialized information handling equipment such as microcomputers, word processors, and computer terminals remains a problem for PICs. Recommendations were made by the Expert Working Group to improve the functions of PICs: 1) the mandate and resoponsibilities of the PIC should be explicilty stated; 2) PICs should collect, process, and disseminate population information in the most effective format to workers in the population feild; 3) PICs should be given flexibility in the performance of activitites by their governing bodies; 4) short-term training should be provided in computerization and dissemination of information; 5) research and evaluation mechanisms for PIC activities should be developed; 6) PIC staff should prepare policy briefs for decision makers; 7) access to parent organizations should be given to nongovernment PICs; 8) study tours to foreign PICs should be organized for PIC staff; and 9) on-the-job training in indexing and abstracting should be provided. Networking among PICs can be further facilitated by written acquisition policies, automation of bibliographic information, common classification systems, and exchange of ideas and experience between various systems.