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SAFE MOTHERHOOD NEWSLETTER. 1995; (19):4-8.The World Health Organization (WHO) has produced a video to help launch its Mother-Baby Package entitled "Opening the Gates to Life." It shows how national programs can use the package to improve maternal survival. It aims to stimulate discussion and motivate health workers at all levels to develop concrete strategies and activities to reduce maternal mortality. Policy makers and planners will also benefit from the video. Another WHO video, "Why Did Mrs. X. Die?", depicted the road to maternal death and the obstacles she faced in her lifetime. The most recent video focuses on the road to life. The key concepts of this most recent video are opening the gates to life, motivating gatekeepers (policy makers, planners, health professionals, health workers, and community and family members), strengthening the links in the chain of care, and reaching out to women and communities. They are also incorporated in other communication materials of the package. Ways to open the gates to life are: reduce delay (household delay in deciding to seek care, delay in reaching care because of difficulties with transportation and the referral system, and delay in receiving care after arriving at a health facility), reduce the distance between women and life-saving obstetrics care, remove barriers (e.g., disrespectful treatment by health workers and cost), listen to the needs and perceptions of women, and penetrate the culture of silence. In the culture of silence maternal deaths are often not discussed or reported because they are considered a sensitive, private issue.
WORLD HEALTH FORUM. 1990; 11(1):14-31.Health is often seen in strip cartoons (SCs). However, its images convey their own properties. SCs are distributed globally. They are produced in Algiers, Dakar, and Bangui. The SC generally goes from humor to adventure stories. Health enters SCs in 3 ways: 1) the portrayal of life styles; 2) health as a suspenseful element; and 3) medical adventures emphasizing a doctor. Adventure stories with doctors for heroes are common. WHO is the basis for many SCs. Humor and adventure are the 2 basic themes in SCs; they are not mutually exclusive. 1 way that SCs portray health is the "stretched-out time of soap opera." These are stories of poor, talented doctors and devoted nurses. The SC is a graphic expression of world concerns. Healthy or unhealthy life styles may be seen in SCs. Food, tobacco, and alcohol are just parts of a story. Positive heroes are never alcoholics, because alcoholism is a potential vice. Habitual drinkers are usually secondary characters. Early in the 20th century, tobacco played a big role in developing SCs in Mexico. Breaking society's rules for a healthy life style leads to all kinds of consequences in SCs. There was no educational intent to having Popeye eat spinach. Spinach contains iron and is associated with strength. Scurvy is an enemy of many sailors, and this shows up in SCs on disease. It alternates with cholera as an element of adventure in sea stories. An imaginative story devoted to health education shows a medical and social confrontation with naval captains who are not too bright. SCs are neither good nor bad in themselves.