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Forced Migration Review. 2007 Jan; (27):20-21.The problem of sexual exploitation and abuse is often exacerbated in situations characterised by poverty, conflict and/or displacement where the UN is actively involved. Poverty and a lack of economic opportunities frequently force women and children to engage in 'survival sex' - the exchange of money, goods or services for sexual favours. In 2002 a joint UNHCR/Save the Children UK report revealed a disturbing pattern of sexual exploitation of refugee children by aid workers and peacekeepers in West Africa. Documenting allegations against 40 agencies and 67 individuals, it reported how humanitarian workers extort sex in exchange for desperately needed aid. Acts of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were brought to the international public's attention in 2005. The UN continues to document cases involving children as young as 11 and anecdotal evidence indicates that hundreds of babies have been born of such acts. For unaccompanied (separated or abandoned), internally displaced and refugee children, vulnerabilities are compounded by increased risks of sexual abuse, prostitution, trafficking, military recruitment and psychosocial distress. A lack of documentation and birth registration in displaced and refugee settings leaves many unable to access healthcare, education and other services. (excerpt)
Revista de Saude Publica / Journal of Public Health. 2006 Apr; 40 Suppl:31-41.The focus of the present study is the Brazilian response within science, technology and innovation to the targets formulated in the UNGASS document. An analysis was made of items 70-73 of the UNGASS Draft Declaration of Commitment on HIV/ AIDS (2001), which defined science, technology and innovation targets relating to HIV/AIDS. The main topics listed in these items were put into operation in the form of keywords, in order to guide systematic searches within the standard biomedicine databases, also including the subdivisions of the Web of Science relating to natural and social sciences. The success of Brazilian research within the field of characterization and isolation of HIV-1 is undeniable. Phase II/III vaccine studies have been developed in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo. Empirical studies on the monitoring of primary resistance have been developed in specific populations, through the Brazilian HIV Resistance Monitoring Network. Within the field of monitoring secondary resistance, initiatives such as the National Genotyping Network have been highlighted. Two national systems - the Mortality Information System and the Notifiable Diseases Information System-AIDS - and some studies with wider coverage have given rise to work on trends within the epidemic. The production of high-quality generic medications and their free distribution to patients have been highlighted. Brazil has implemented a consistent and diversified response within the field of HIV/AIDS, with studies relating to the development of vaccines, new medications and monitoring of the epidemic. (author's)
Evaluation of the feasibility of international growth standards for school-aged children and adolescents.
Journal of Nutrition. 2007 Jan; 137(1):153-157.The development of an international growth standard for the screening, surveillance, and monitoring of school-aged children and adolescents has been motivated by 2 contemporaneous events, the global surge in childhood obesity and the release of a new international growth standard for infants and preschool children by the WHO. If a prescriptive approach analogous to that taken by WHO for younger children is to be adopted for school-aged children and adolescents, several issues need to be addressed regarding the universality of growth potential across populations and the definition of optimal growth in children and adolescents. A working group of experts in growth and development and representatives from international organizations concluded that subpopulations exhibit similar patterns of growth when exposed to similar external conditioners of growth. However, based on available data, we cannot rule out that observed differences in linear growth across ethnic groups reflect true differences in genetic potential rather than environmental influences. Therefore, the sampling frame for the development of an international growth standard for children and adolescents must include multiethnic sampling strategies designed to capture the variation in human growth patterns. A single international growth standard for school-aged children and adolescents could be developed with careful consideration of the population and individual selection criteria, study design, sample size, measurements, and statistical modeling of primary growth and secondary ancillary data. The working group agreed that existing growth references for school-aged children and adolescents have shortcomings, particularly for assessing obesity, and that appropriate growth standards for these age groups should be developed for clinical and public health applications. (author's)
Journal of Nutrition. 2007 Jan; 137(1):142-143.Charts that depict expected ranges and trajectories of anthropometric measurements and indicators, e.g., length/height-forage, weight-for-age, and BMI (kg/m2) are among the principal tools used by researchers, clinicians, and policymakers to assist in assessing the health and nutritional well-being of individuals at nearly all life stages and/or the general well-being of communities and broader populations. The utility of these charts to diverse professional groups and the interest of parents, children, and the general population in the information that they convey make a strong case for assuring that growth charts are scientifically robust and effective for educational purposes and in advocacy arenas to motivate improved individual or population health. The articles that follow focus on a global effort to develop a new international growth standard to assess infant and young child growth and to establish an initiative that explores how best to respond to an increasing need for new tools that can assess growth in older children and adolescents. The WHO released a new growth standard for infants and young children in April 2006. The new standard is a response to the recognition of significant flaws in the previous international growth reference. The previous international growth reference was hampered by an inadequately low frequency of measurements during infancy (when growth is most rapid and dynamic) and outdated analytical methods. The new standard is based on the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study (MGRS) that was designed specifically to construct a standard. (excerpt)
New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University, Economic Growth Center, 1994 Jul. 38 p. (Center Discussion Paper No. 713)This paper examines the economic role of three programs of the International Rice Research Institute designed to achieve genetic improvement in rice. These programs are the international genetic resource collection (IRGC), the international plan breeding program (IRPB), and the international network for the genetic evaluation of rice (INGER a system of "nurseries" in which varieties and advanced lines are tested in national programs. All of these programs are designed to contribute to rice genetic improvement by collaborating with counterpart national rice research programs. A genealogical analysis of 1709 rice varieties, constituting more than 90 percent of all improved rice varieties from the 1965 - 1991 period in tropical and subtropical countries, was undertaken. All ancestors of these varieties were traced back to the original "landrace" genetic resources on which they were based. This analysis showed a very high degree of international exchange of genetic materials. Fewer than 8 percent of these improved varieties were developed entirely from national genetic resources. More than two-thirds utilized genetic resources made available by the IRPB and IRGC programs. Most of these were transferred through INGER. A statistical analysis of varietal production showed that the IRGC and IRPB programs stimulated increased national use of the INGER nurseries. (National decisions regarding the number of national nurseries were treated as endogenous choices). The IRPB and the INGER programs, as well as national plant breeding programs, contributed to varietal production. Coefficient estimates indicated that the INGER system facilitated a 20 to 25 percent expansion of varietal production by making genetic materials readily available to large numbers of national plant breeding programs through the 900 to 1000 nurseries managed by INGER each year. The implied economic value of additional accessions to the genetic resource collections (IRGC national collections) was high and a strong economic justification for further collection, cataloging and preservation of these genetic resources was implied. (author's)
Lancet. 2005 May 28; 365(9474):1846-1847.The World Health Report 2005—Make Every Mother and Child Count is to be commended for including neonates as a focus of maternal and child health. This perspective is consistent with The Lancet’s neonatal survival series and is strongly supported by the March of Dimes. Unfortunately, the report overlooks birth defects as a major global cause of infant death and disability. In doing so, it has missed the opportunity to highlight care and prevention of birth defects, which should be an integral part of the maternal, newborn, and child health programmes of any country. Every year, 7.8 million children are born with a serious genetic birth defect. Hundreds of thousands more are born with serious birth defects due to teratogens, including fetal alcohol syndrome, maternal iodine deficiency syndrome, congenital syphilis, and congenital rubella syndrome. (excerpt)
Lancet. 2005 Mar 19; 365:1105-1107.The Millennium Development Goals have become an international standard against which to assess trends in development and human well being. Their adoption in 2000 coincided with two important factors: the growing recognition of the role of science and technology in solving human problems, and the emergence of new infectious diseases. These developments have helped to define biomedical research as one of the most critical public policy issues facing the global community. The state of human health in much of the developing world continues to decline at a time when the world’s fund of biomedical knowledge continues to expand. This challenge offers new opportunities for promoting international cooperation in biomedical research of relevance to developing countries as outlined in the report of the Millennium Project Task Force on Science, Technology and Innovation. Addressing health challenges of the developing world will require new forms of international partnerships that take into account emerging opportunities in the globalisation of scientific knowledge. (excerpt)
Development of phenotypic and genotypic resistance to antiretroviral therapy in the UNAIDS HIV drug access initiative - Uganda.
AIDS. 2003; 17 Suppl 3:S39-S48.Objective: We describe phenotypic drug resistance, response to therapy, and genotypic mutations among HIV-infected patients in Uganda taking antiretroviral medications for >/= 90 days who had a viral load >/= 1000 copies/ml. Methods: HIV-1 group and subtype, virologic and immunologic responses to antiretroviral therapy, phenotypic resistance to antiretroviral drugs, and associated genotypic mutations among patients at three treatment centers in Uganda between June 1999 and August 2000 were assessed. Therapy was two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) or highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Results: All HIV identified was HIV-1, group M, subtypes A,C, and D. Sixty-one (65%) of 94 patients with a phenotypic resistance result had evidence of phenotypic resistance including resistance to a NRTI for 51 of 92 (55%) taking NRTIs, to a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) for nine of 16 (56%) taking NNRTIs, and to a protease inhibitor (PI) for eight of 37 (22%) taking Pls. At the time of the first specimen with resistance, the median change from baseline viral load was -0.56 log copies/ml [interquartile range (IQR), -1.47 to +0.29] and CD4+ cell count was +35 x 10(6) cells/I (IQR, -18 to +87). Genotypic resistance mutations, matched with phenotypic resistance assay results and drug history, were generally consistent with those seen for HIV-1, group M, subtype B infections in industrialized countries. Conclusion: Initial phenotypic resistance and corresponding genotypic mutations among patients treated in Uganda were similar to those with subtype B infections in North America and Europe. These data support policies that promote the use of HAART regimens against HIV-1, group M, non-B subtypes in a manner consistent with that used for subtype B infections. (author's)
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2004 Nov; 87(2):111-113.In May 2004, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States ruled that emergency contraception would not be available over the counter. In December 2003, two FDA expert panels overwhelmingly recommended approval of the drug by a 23 to 4 vote after reviewing more than 15,000 pages of data for over 40 studies in support of the over the counter (OTC) application. The FDA typically follows the recommendations of the government scientific committees, and the experts in this case made it clear that use of emergency contraception does not increase promiscuity or unprotected sex among teenaged women. In an unusual decision written by Dr. Steven Galson, Acting Director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and not supported by other members of the FDA staff, a decision was deferred pending further information about the safety of emergency contraception in girls under the age of 16 or on the possibility raised by the manufacturer in their proposal that the drug be used over the counter for girls over the age of 16 and that there be an age limit to those who could get it without speaking to a pharmacist or without a prescription. (excerpt)
In: The global possible: resources, development, and the new century, edited by Robert Repetto. New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 1985. 491-519. (World Resources Institute Book)Participants at the Global Possible Conference in 1984 concluded that, despite the dismal predictions about the earth, we can still fashion a more secure, prosperous, and sustainable world environmentally and economically. The tools to bring about such a world already exist. The international community and nations must implement new policies, however. Government, science, business, and concerned groups must reach new levels of cooperation. Developed and developing countries must form new partnerships to implement sustained improvements in living standards of the world's poor. Peaceful cooperation is needed to eliminate the threat of nuclear war--the greatest threat to life and the environment. Conference working groups prepared an agenda for action which, even though it is organized along sectoral disciplines, illustrates the complex linkages that unite issues in 1 area with those in several others. For example, problems existing in forests tie in with biological diversity, energy and fuelwood, and management of agricultural lands and watersheds. The agenda emphasizes policies and initiatives that synergistically influence serious problems in several sectors. It also tries to not present solutions that generate as many problems as it tries to solve. The 1st section of the agenda covers population, poverty, and development issues. it provides recommendations for developing and developed countries. It discusses urbanization and issues facing cities. The 3rd section embodies freshwater issues and has 1 list of recommendations for all sectors. The agenda addresses biological diversity, tropical forests, agricultural land, living marine resources, energy, and nonfuel minerals in their own separate sections. It discusses international assistance and the environment in 1 section. Another section highlights the need to assess conditions, trends, and capabilities. The last section comprises business, science, an citizens.
Nairobi, Kenya, United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP], .  p. (UNEP Environment Brief No. 3)2,970 million hectares of tropical forests comprise 20% of the land surface, almost all of which lie in developing countries. 11.3 million hectares of tropical forest vanish each year, however. 26.5% of the world's tropical forests are in Brazil. Other countries with many tropical forests are Zaire (9.2%); and Peru, Angola, Bolivia, and India; each with 3%. Expansion of agricultural land is the leading cause of deforestation. More specifically it is shortened fallow periods which cause deforestation. In developing countries, forests are especially valuable because they fulfill many subsistence needs of rural dwellers (e.g., fuelwood, nuts, fruit, medicines, and ropes), conserve water and soil, provide people with industrial products and thus foreign exchange, and hold genetic resources. The world needs to work together to wisely manage tropical forests on a sustainable basis. Governments must reassess existing policies that favor agricultural development and rapid forest exploitation. Small-scale projects in which local people especially women plan the work with qualified foresters and execute it tend to be successful. 3 UN agencies prepared a global plan of action for the wise management of tropical forests, but they could not persuade 21 nations with tropical forests such as Brazil, Burma, Colombia, and Zaire to adopt it. A new global plan developed by 2 of those agencies, UN Development Programme and the World Bank, and the World Resources Institute appears to have more potential for success. Development agencies, international lending organizations, governments, and the private sector will invest US$8,000 million in topical forests over 5 years. Most of the 21 nations have agreed to take part in the plan. The areas of investment include fuelwood and agroforestry, land use on upland watersheds, management for industrial uses, and conservation.
Development: Seeds of Change. 1987; (4):11-8.3 basic categories of institutions in research and development (R&D) of biotechnology include universities, small biotechnology R&D venture capital financed firms, and transnational corporations in the US and other more developed countries (MDCs). Almost 24 transnationals, which predominantly manufacture pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals, lead the biotechnology industry by contracting research arrangements with universities or venture capital financed firms or by establishing their own R&D, manufacturing, and marketing activities in biotechnology. On the other hand, in less developed countries (LDCs), the private sector plays no role or a relatively small role in biotechnology. National level government programs are developing biotechnology capabilities in some LDCs, however. In MDCs, the move towards privatization of biotechnology, especially with the ability to patent technologies, restricts the free flow of research information, thereby inhibiting the diversity and pace of technological innovation, widening the technological gap between MDCs and LDCs, and thus maintaining LDCs' dependence on MDCs. The leading role of transnational corporations in biotechnology R&D causes skewed research priorities that the corporations determine based on their own global strategies. These research priorities are determined by potential profit, and not by the needs of the LDCs. Even though products of biotechnology have the capability to improve the lives of many in the world, they displace more traditional products of LDCs. For example, sugar will soon be displaced by immobilized enzyme technology produced high fructose, therefore affecting the economies and poor of sugar exporting nations. LDCs must act now so as not to fall behind in the biotechnology revolution, such as establishing their relevance at the grass roots level.
In: World Health Organization (WHO). The work of the World Health Organization 1971: annual report of the director-general. Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1972. 128-141.WHO instituted a wide family health program in 1970 to focus on health problems of the family as a whole. Assistance has been given by WHO for family health projects for maternal and child health, human reproduction, human genetics, and nutrition. A summary of these programs is included.
In: World Health Organization (WHO). The second ten years of the World Health Organization, 1958-1967. Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1968. 227-249.WHO's accomplishments within the last decade include advances in molecular biology. Discoveries in this area have helped open new approaches to the solution of problems in the fields of immunology and human genetics. An increased expansion of interest in problems of fertility and sterility and in the general health aspects of human reproduction has also been seen. This chapter summarizes WHO's activities in the following areas: immunology, human genetics, human reproduction, biological standardization, pharmaceutical substances, drug safety, drug dependence and abuse, and food additives.