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WORLD HEALTH FORUM. 1993; 14(4):333-44.WHO evaluated the implementation of the health-for-all strategy using data from 151 countries. 110 countries still endorsed the strategy. 95 have either completely implemented or further developed community involvement. Just 33 countries had more equitable distribution of resources. The percentage of gross national product (GNP) that the government dedicated to health rose in the least developed countries. Developed countries spent a higher proportion of their GNP on health than did developing countries (3.3% vs. 0.9%, 1991). Maldistribution of health personnel continued to be a major problem. Between 1985 and 1990, the proportion of people in developing countries with access to safe water rose from 68 to 75%. Adequate sewage disposal coverage rose from 46 to 71% (1985-1991). Prenatal care coverage by trained personnel increased from 58 to 67%. Tetanus toxoid coverage of pregnant women only increased from 24 to 34%. Most maternal deaths were a result of inadequate prenatal care, inadequate care during childbirth, pregnancies spaced too closely, multiparity, and poor health and nutritional status before the first pregnancy. Immunization coverage rose considerably in every region (e.g., 47-83% for diphtheria). Nevertheless, substantial differences in coverage existed between countries. A substantial trend towards more integrated primary health care occurred. Child survival rates improved, but the gap in infant mortality rates between developed countries and the least developed countries widened. The gap in health status between the poor and the wealthy had become larger. Developing countries in the process of the epidemiological transition continued to be burdened with both infectious and degenerative diseases. GNP and adult literacy rose, but less so in the least developed countries. These findings suggested that governments must sustain the commitment to reduce inequities, realign health systems, improve health financing systems, improve coordination between health sectors, and improve linkage between health and development.
HEALTH FOR THE MILLIONS. 1991 Dec; 17(5):28.UNICEF advocates the reduction of infant/child mortality because it feels that such an action will reduce both fertility and human suffering. It was feared in the beginning, and today as well, that increasing the survival rate for children would cause rapid population growth. However, there is a large body of evidence to the contrary. When such measures are combined with measures to promote and support family planning there are even greater reductions in fertility levels. This is why such organizations as UNFPA, WHO, and UNICEF have advocated this course of action. This strategy is also present in the Declaration of the World Summit for Children. Anyone advocating the reduction in support for programs designed to enhance child survival as a method of population control is confusing the issues, misdirecting environmental attention, and stirring up the debate about international mortality. The evidence clearly shows that family planning without family health, including child health, is much less successful. Further, child mortality, even at high levels does little to slow population growth while such death and suffering greatly burden women and families. While rapid population growth and high population densities in developing countries present serious problems, both are much less important than the high levels of consumption in developed nations. Each child in the industrialized world will, at present levels of consumption, be expected to consume 30 to 100 times more than a child born in the poorest nations. Such suggestions in a time of instant global communication only attempt to set back international morality and tempt those in the international intellectual community to embrace ideas similar to the eugenic principles that led to the holocaust.
MEDICAL JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA. 1990 Dec 3-17; 153(11-12):635-7.While most infant-related health problems in the Third World can be attributed to commonplace diseases, the lack of resources necessary to implement Western styles of medicine suggests the need for new strategies -- those that rely less on technology and more on grass roots efforts. Most illnesses in the developing world are the result of the top 5-10 diseases. Of the 4 million deaths from pneumonia each year, 97% take place in the Third World. Measles causes the yearly deaths of 1.6 million. Many of these diseases have been eradicated in the West; the others can be easily treated. But in the 3rd World, health problems are compounded by the fact that attention is often sought late, as well as the lack of doctors and nurses. Most of those with Western-style medical training rarely practice in rural or urban slum areas. One strategy to meet these difficulties is to train personnel on how to diagnose and treat these 5-10 common diseases without them having to go through Western-style training -- reminiscent of the famous "barefoot doctors" of China. These local health workers can more easily meet the health needs of isolated areas, since they can be trained to carry out immunization, and teach nutrition and family planning. Furthermore, this strategy does not rely on high technology, following instead the scheme laid out by acronym GOBI -- Growth monitoring. Oral rehydration therapy, Breast feeding, and Immunization. Developed nations can help in this effort by supporting WHO, UNICEF and other international organizations, as well as sending personnel to work in 3rd World countries. While individual 3rd World nations must confront these problems, worldwide social, political, and economic changes will be necessary.
EPI NEWSLETTER. 1987 Oct; 9(5):3-5.This article sets forth data on vaccination coverage rates in children under 1 year of age in the individual countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in 1986. In the Region of the Americas as a whole, the 1986 coverage rate was 80% for oral poliovaccine, 54% for DPT, 55% for measles, and 63% for BCG. Vaccination coverage rates increased over 1985 levels for all but measles, which showed a 5% decline due to decreases in Brazil and Mexico. In the Caribbean subregion, the majority of country coverage rates for DPT and oral poliovirus vaccine are equal to or above 80%, while measles coverage rates are generally below 50%. In Central America, vaccine coverage rates with all antigens except BCG showed significant increases between 1985 and 1986. In Central America, coverage ranged from above 80% for oral poliovirus vaccine and DPT in Belize, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, to below 40% in Guatemala. In general, countries in the region are improving vaccination performance as a result of establishment of vaccination days or campaigns and acceleration of the Expanded Program on Immunization. However, much work remains to be done if the goal of 100% immunization of children and women of childbearing age by 1990 is to be met.
[Vaccination, the right of each child, World Day of Health 1987] Vacunacion: derecho de cada nino, Dia Mundial de la Salud 1987.
BOLETIN DE LA OFICINA SANITARIA PANAMERICANA. 1987 Mar; 102(3):263-80.In the 10 years since the Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization initiated the Extended Immunization Program in the Americas (PAI), coverage has increased from less than 1/3 to over 1/2 of children immunized in their first year against 6 major childhood diseases. Due mainly to the PAI, the incidence of measles, tetanus, and diptheria has been reduced by 1/2, that of whooping cough by 75%, and that of tuberculosis by about 5% annually. About 75% of children are immunized against polio, which has 1/10 as many victims today as 10 years ago. PAHO and several other organizations have targeted 1990 for eradication of polio from the South American continent. Since the PAI was established in 1977, more than 15,000 health workers have been trained, cold chains have been established to preserve vaccines, and more than 250 technicians have been trained to maintain and repair the needed equipment. The cost of the campaign to eradicate polio is estimated at US $ 24 million per year for the entire region--a low total compared to the costs of hospitalization and rehabilitation of the victims in the absence of such a program. The goal of immunizing all the world's children by 1990 proposed by the World Health Assembly in 1977 is achievable, but much remains to be done. The number of children immunized in the largest Third World countries ranges from 20-90% owing in part to national immunization days but also to assumption by local communities of the goal of universal immunization by 1990. All deaths produced by these 6 killer diseases are not registered, but the World Health Organization estimates that measles takes 2.1 million lives annually, neonatal tetanus 800,000, and whooping cough 600,000. Governmental and nongovernmental international organizations have made financial help available to countries needing it for their immunization programs. Most developing countries are expected to achieve the goal of universal immunization by 1990, but the 10 poorst countries of Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean may not be able to do so. At the worldwide level, 41% of the 118 million children who survive their first year have been vaccinated against measles and 46% against tuberculosis. 47% have received the full course of vaccine against diptheria, whooping cough, tetanus, and polio. The cost of these immunization is $5-15 per child and 80% is assumed by local countries. The World Health Organization recommends that all children, even the undernourished or slightly ill, be vaccinated, and that all health services vaccinate. Parents should be urged to return for the 2nd and 3rd doses of polio and DPT vaccines. Vaccination programs should pay more attention to impoverished urban populations. Several countries of the region have added innovations such as vaccination against other illnesses, house to house searches for unvaccinated children, or use of mass media to publicize national vaccination programs.
Assignment Children. 1985; 69/72:397-414.The recent immunization campaign in El Salvador has been a success despite the civil war. Both the government and the guerrillas agreed that the goal of immunizing children was an ideal transcending all differences, and that immunization should be taken to all parts of the country and all Salvadorian children. The campaign had the personal support of the head of state, the church, UNICEF, PAHO/WHO, ICRC and other organizations who worked with the parties to implement the campaign. The 3 national immunization days, held on February 3, March 3, and April 21, 1985 were transformed into days of tranquillity. This article describes how the campaign was organized and presents an assessment of its achievements. An executive committee was created and both UNICEF and PAHO/WHO took part in its meetings. Specific commissions handled channeling, training, supplies, the cold chain, information and evaluation, and promotion and education. The plan of action proposed that all branches of government and the private sector support the immunization campaign and a national support council was establish for this purpose. The original goal was to immunize 400,000 children under 3 years of age against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and measles. The goal was extended to cover children under 5 years of age. Funding was provided from both public and private organizations. Reasons the campaign was a success despite war conditions include: the campaign was backed by political commitment; the mechanisms created to implement the campaign functioned smoothly; mobilizing the media generated a change in opinion and attitude. The campaign rested on solid technical and political foundations. It reached 87% of children under 5 in the area.
Proceedings of the International Conference on Oral Rehydration Therapy, June 7-10, 1983, Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., Agency for International Development [AID], Bureau for Science and Technology, 1983. 210 p. (International Conference on Oral Rehydration Therapy, 1983, proceedings)With over 600 participants from more than 80 countries, the International Conference on Oral Rehydration Therapy (ICORT) was a testimony to the international health community's recognition of the seriousness of diarrheal disease, the value of oral rehydration therapy, and the commitment to primary health care. The conference, initiated by the Agency for International Development, was cosponsored by the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, the United Nations Children's Fund, and the WHO. The conference focused on oral rehydration therapy, an important treatment of diarrhea. 1 out of 10 children born in developing countries dies from the effects of diarrhea before the age of 5. A 70% reduction in the mortality rate can result from ORT--a major breakthrough for primary health care. Excellent laboratory investigation, well-conducted clinical studies, and careful field observation have led to this effective therapy. Many papers presented at the conference demonstrated the effectiveness of ORT. Participants agreed on the best formula for ORT in terms of electrolyte content and on the need for an international commitment to expand implementation of ORT. Problems in implementing oral therapy programs are discussed. Possible areas of investigation include: 1) improving the solution through the addition of glycine, other amino acids, or cereal-based substrates; 2) developing methods for teaching ORT; and 3) investigating better methods of program evaluation. Innovative approaches to informing the public about the use and benefits of oral therapy were also discussed. Participants, recognizing that problems are shared among many different programs and nations, exchanged ideas and addresses, pledging to keep each other abreast of their ORT research and implementation efforts. The conference closed with a strong call for action to attain near universal availability of ORT in the next 10 years.