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Health Policy and Development. 2004 Aug; 2(2):96-99.The World Food Programme (WFP) is the United Nations (UN) agency responding to humanitarian emergencies by delivering food aid to vulnerable populations worldwide. The protracted insurgency in northern Uganda resulted in the displacement of up to 1,619,807 people, largely women and children. The humanitarian situation among displaced persons in northern and eastern Uganda led to diminished coping abilities and increased food aid needs. Access to food through productive means varies but, on average, households can only access about 0.5 - 0.75 acres of land. Recent nutrition and health assessments conducted in Pader District, in Feb 2004 and in Gulu District, in June 2004, highlight high mortality rates of more than 1 death/10,000 people/day. While Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates appear to fall within the normal range expected within African populations (<5% GAM), high mortality rates consistently highlight the severity of the health situation in the camps. The WFP Uganda Country Office currently implements a Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) and a Country Programme (CP). The PRRO targets Internally Displaced Persons in Northern Uganda through General Food Distribution (GFD) activities, school children, HIV/AIDS infected and affected households and other vulnerable groups. In partnership with the Government of Uganda (GOU), sister UN agencies, international and national NGOs and Community Based Organisations, WFP currently assists the 1,619,807 Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs), including 178,741 school children in the Gulu and Kitgum, 19,900 people infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS in Gulu and Kitgum and more than 750 food insecure persons involved in asset creation. Whilst WFP and other humanitarian actors continue to provide relief support to the displaced communities of northern Uganda, it is clear that without increased security the crisis will continue. (author's)
In: Women's health and apartheid: the health of women and children and the future of progressive primary health care in Southern Africa, edited by Marcia Wright, Zena Stein and Jean Scandlyn. New York, New York, Columbia University, 1988. 84-9.There is a large discrepancy between maternal mortality rates in developed and developing countries, with maternal mortality as a leading cause of death of young women in poor countries. There has been renewed interest in maternal mortality among international agencies and major foundations quite recently. Women and children form up to 2/3 of the population of many developing countries, and over 1/2 of primary health care resources are devoted to maternal and child health programs. Nevertheless, little of this is directed at maternal mortality; most goes to immunization, oral rehydration for diarrhea, monitoring children's growth, and promoting breastfeeding. While some of the international health community attribute the long neglect of maternal mortality to not knowing the extent and severity of the problem before, prior data existed demonstrating the alarmingly high rates. Low maternal mortality in the West may have distracted attention from the international problem. Sexism may have been a major factor, as even today efforts to reduce maternal mortality need to be justified in terms of the implications for the family, children and society as a whole. The reasons for the current concern are not clear, but may relate to an interest in concrete issues after the United Nations Decade for Women, or real surprise in the international community once the problem was pointed out. As various agencies rush to establish maternal mortality programs, it is imperative to evaluate which approaches will be really effective. Critical evaluation of programs is necessary to capitalize on the current interest.