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  1. 1

    WHO Programme in Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning. Report of the second meeting of the WHO Programme Advisory Committee in Maternal and Child Health, Geneva, 21-25 November 1983.

    World Health Organization [WHO]. Division of Family Health. Maternal and Child Health Unit

    [Unpublished] 1984. 95 p. (MCH/84.5)

    The objectives of the 2nd meeting of the Program Advisory Committee (PAC) for the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Program in Maternal and Child Health, including Family Planning (MCH/FP) were to 1) assess the MCH/FP program's achievements since the 1st PAC meeting in June, 1982, 2) determine the level of scientific and financial resources available for the program, and 3) to examine the role of traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in the delivery of MCH/FP services. The committee reviewed the activities and targets of the program's 4 major areas (pregnancy and perinatal care, child health, growth, and development, adolescent health, and family planning and infertility), and developed a series of recommendations for each of these areas. Specific recommendations were also made for each of the major program areas in reference to the analysis and dessimination of information and to the development and use of appropriate health technologies. Upon reviewing the role of TBAs in the delivery of MCH/FP services, PAC recommended that all barriers to TBA utilization be removed and that training for TBAs should be improved and expanded. PAC's examination of financial support for MCH/FP activities revealed that for a sample of 26 countries, the average annual amount allocated to MCH activities was less than US$3/child or woman. This low level of funding must be taken into account when setting program targets. International funding agencies did indicate their willingness to increase funding levels for MCH programs. The appendices included 1) a list of participants, 2) an annotated agenda, 3) detailed information on the proposed activities of the program's headquarters for 1986-87, and 4) a description of the the function, organizational structure, and technical management of the MCH/FP program. Also included in the appendices was an overview of the current status of MCH and a series of tables providing information on infant, child, and maternal health indicators. Specifically, the tables provided information by region and by country on maternal, child, and infant mortality; causes of child deaths; maternal health care coverage; contraceptive prevalence; infant and child malnutrition; the number of low weight births; adolescent health; teenage births; breast feeding prevalence and duration; and the proportion of women and children in the population.
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  2. 2

    Evaluating progress.

    Roy L

    WORLD HEALTH. 1988 Jan-Feb; 10-11.

    In 1979 WHO invited its member states to participate in a global strategy for health and to monitor and evaluate its effectiveness using a minimum of 12 indicators. Members' 1982 implementation reports and 1985 evaluation reports form the basis for evaluating each measure. Indicators 1-6 have strong political and economic components in both developed and developing countries and are not complete. Indicator 7, for which rates of reply are satisfactory, asks whether at least 5 elements of primary health care are available to the whole population. The 8th gauge seeks information on the nutritional status of children, considering birth weight (a possible indicator of risk) and weight for age (a monitor of growth). Infant mortality rate and life expectancy at birth, indicators 9 and 10, are difficult to estimate in developing countries, and health services are not always kept informed of current estimates. Indicator 11 asks whether the literacy rate exceeds 70%; it can provide information on level of development and should emphasize literacy for women, for whom health information is critical. The last global measure yields information about the gross national product, which is not always the most recent, despite the trend of countries to publish their gross domestic product. Failure to make use of the best national sources, such as this, is one of several problems encountered by WHO's member states in collecting accurate data. Other problems include lack of universally acceptable definitions, different national accounting systems, disinterest of health authorities in economic matters, lack of staff, lack of financial resources in developing countries, and inadequately structured health system management. Each country must choose the most appropriate methods for collection of data. If an indicator cannot be calculated, the country is encouraged to seek and devise a substitute. WHO must produce more precise and reliable indicators. It must respond to requests for ways of improving or strengthening national systems.
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