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  1. 1
    068966

    Why Nicaraguan children survive. Moving beyond scenario thinking.

    Sandiford P; Coyle E; Smith GD

    LINKS. HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT REPORT. 1991 Fall; 8(3):11-2.

    The authors respond to Tony Dajer's critique of their study concerning the trend in Nicaraguan infant mortality and its possible explanations. It is pointed out that the sharp decline in Nicaragua's infant mortality in the mid-1970s is an intriguing phenomenon, since it began to occur at a time of economic slump, civil disturbance, and under a government that gave low priority to the social sector. It is contended that a number of factors (among them the Managua earthquake) prompted the government to shift its allocation of resources from hospital-based health care in the capital city to ambulatory health care throughout the country. After the revolution, the Sandinista government continued this process. Dajer's characterization of USAID-funded clinics as "notoriously ineffective" is rejected; arguing that although operating under overt political guidelines, these projects are well-advised by experts. Dajer's question as to the importance of health care within the Sandinista government is considered. It is maintained that the revolution was not fought in order to reduce infant mortality, and that health was not the primary concern of the Government of National Reconstruction. It was the international solidarity movement, not the Sandinista government, which focused so intently on infant mortality, hoping to find good news to report. The issue of health care had the added advantage of being politically noncontroversial. It is also maintained that since the mid-70s, the country's health policy has remained stable, despite the radical changes in government because the international arena helps determine national health policy.
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  2. 2
    068711

    Exporting abortion politics: the battle over international family planning assistance.

    Lasher C

    CONSCIENCE. 1991 Sep-Oct; 12(5):22-3.

    Congressional legislation seeking to overturn US government restrictions on international family planning assistance face a possible presidential veto. Dating back to the Reagan years, the 1984 Mexico City Policy prohibits foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGO) receiving US money from performing or actively promoting abortion as a family planning method. Even if abortion is legal in that particular country, the agency involved may not even discuss abortion as one of the medical options of a pregnant woman. In line with the Mexico City Policy, the US has withdrawn funding from both the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the largest NGO in the population field, and the Family Planning International Assistance, the international division of the Planned Parenthood federation of America. One of the effects of the Mexico City Policy has been to make family planning more controversial, and to increase opposition to birth control. In addition to the Mexico City Policy, the Reagan years also saw the implementation of a policy that denies funding to the UNFPA, charged by the US of "co-managing" China's population program that engages in coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization. The UNFPA has denied such charges. So far, President George Bush -- previously a supporter of family planning programs -- has sided with opponents of abortion, and has threatened a veto threat may soon be tested, since Congress has drafted a foreign aid appropriations bill that has includes a measure saying that NGOs should be treated in the same manner as their governments, which are exempt from the Mexico City Policy so long as US funds are not used to support abortions.
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