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  1. 1

    Lesotho: report of Mission on Needs Assessment for Population Assistance.

    United Nations Fund for Population Activities [UNFPA]

    New York, New York, UNFPA, 1986 Jun. x, 66 p. (Report No. 81)

    A UN mission was sent to assess and recommend areas for assistance in the field of population assistance in Lesotho. The mission recommends a population unit be set up and staffed with personnel able to initiate, coordinate, and document population research. It also should assist in the integration of population data into the planning process. Data needed to accomplish these tasks includes current statistics on the size, demographic, and socioeconomic details of the population; migration and geographical distribution; general health and nutritional status, including adult and infant mortality; the size and distribution of the work force; and the employment market and manpower in the private sector. Research is recommended in the following areas: resource limitations on development and job growth; international migration; effects of infertility on population growth and distribution; religion and culture in family planning; women's status in work force; effects of land tenure, land use and distribution; teen pregnancy; resources available to women; and effects of returning migrants on households. Also recommended are expanding health facilities and increasing staff training for this network. Family planning should be integrated with maternal and child health services. The mission finds that the government needs to promote a longterm formal program on population education, and designate an agency to coordinate such a program. The mission suggests that women's role in agriculture and other employment be analyzed, and also laws that effect their rights and responsibilities. It also recommends more small projects in rural areas and designating funds to help women gain self sufficiency.
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  2. 2

    Acute respiratory infections are the leading cause of death in children in developing countries.

    Denny FW; Loda FA


    A paper by Hazlett et al. is of particular importance because it addresses the question of the role of acute respiratory infections (ARI) as a cause of morbidity and especially mortality in 3rd world children. Diarrheal disease and malnutrition are generally thought to be the major killers of these children, and until recently little attention was paid to ARI. Recent data suggest that ARI are more important than realized previously and almost certainly are the leading cause of death in children in developing countries. It is estimated that each year more than 15 million children less than 5 years old die, obviously most in socially and economically deprived countries. Since death usually is due to a combination of social, economic, and medical factors, it is impossible to obtain precise data on the causes of death. It has been estimated that 5 million of the deaths are due to diarrhea, over 3 million due to pneumonia, 2 million to measles, 1.5 million to pertussis, 1 million to tetanus, and the other 2.5 million or less to other causes. Since pertussis is an acute respiratory infection and measles deaths frequently are due to infections of the respiratory tract, it is becoming clear that ARI are associated with more deaths than any other single cause. The significance of this is emphasized when the mortality rates from ARI in developed and underdeveloped nations are compared. Depending on the countries compared, age group, and other factors, increases of 5-10-fold have been reported. These factors raise the question of why respiratory infections are so lethal for 3rd world children. The severity of pneumonia, which is the cause of most ARI deaths, seems to be the big difference. Data are accumulating which show that bacterial infections are associated with the majority of severe infections and "Streptococcus pneumoniae" and "Haemophilus influenzae," infrequent causes of pneumonia in developed world children, are the microorganisms incriminated in a large proportion of cases. The increase in severity of ARI in 3rd world children has been associated, at least in port, with malnutrition, diarrheal diseases, an increased parasite load, and more recently with air pollution. Crowding and other factors associated with poverty doubtless also play a role. How these various factors contribute to increased severity and lethality is not well understood. The increasing recognition of the important role played by ARI as causes of mortality in 3rd world children is encouraging. The UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has joined the World Health Organization in the battle against ARI in developing countries, and the 2 organizations recently issued a joint statement on the subject in which they pledged to collaborate to integrate an ARI component into the primary health care program.
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  3. 3


    Sadik N

    [Unpublished] 1986. Presented at the All-Africa Parliamentary Conference on Population and Development, Harare, Zimbabwe, May 12-16, 1986. 7 p.

    The Second African Conference on Population and Development, held early in 1984, marked a decisive stage in African thinking about population. During the 12 years between the 1972 and 1984 conferences, African nations learned in detail about their demographic situation and confronted the ever-increasing costs of development and their lack of physical and administrative infrastructure. In the midst of these and other concerns came the drought, which for over a decade in some parts of the continent has reduced rainfall, dried up rivers, lakes, and wells, and forced millions into flight. It is in this context that population became an African issue. African countries on the whole are not densely populated nor do they yet have very large concentrations in cities. Yet, population emerges as more than a matter of numbers, and there are features which give governments cause for concern. First, the population of most African countries, and of the continent as a whole, is growing rapidly and could double itself in under 25 years. Second, mortality among mothers and children is very high. Third, life expectancy generally is lower in African than in other developing countries. Fourth, urbanization is sufficiently rapid to put more than half of Africa in cities by 2020 and 1/3 of the urban population in giant cities of over 4 million people. The 1984 conference recognized these and other uncomfortable facts and their implications for the future, and agreed that attention to population was an essential part of African development strategy. Strategy is considered in terms of the 4 issues mentioned. First, high rates of growth are not in themselves a problem, but they mean a very high proportion of dependent children in the population. About 45% of Africa's population is under age 14 and will remain at this level until the early years of the 21st century. Meeting the needs of so many children and young adults taxes the ability of every African nation, regardless of how rapidly its economy may expand. Understanding this, a growing number of African leaders call for slower growth in order to achieve a balance in the future between population and the resources available for development. Reducing mortality requires innovation. Among the new approaches to health care are the use of traditional medicine and practitioners in conjunction with modern science and the mobilization of community groups for preventive care and self-help. Health care and better nutrition also are keys to improvement in life expectancy and call for ingenuity and innovation on the part of African governments and communities. Part of the solution to the impending urban crisis must be attention to the viability of the rural sector. The role of the UN Fund for Population Activities in addressing the identified issues is reviewed.
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