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Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1977. 28 p. (OCP/STAC/77.2)The STAC (Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee) is evaluating the feasibility for economic development in the Volta River Basin. The main obstacle is the danger of onchocerciasis which could lead to blindness. The onchocerciasis control program hopes to reduce the disease to a low enough level that it no longer poses a major health problem or an obstacle to socio-economic development as well as to maintain the disease at a tolerable level. Therefore, studies, plans, and recommendations on insecticides are being made. The program is treating waterways with Abate, a biodegradable larvicide, in addition to undertaking parasitological surveillance. Blackflys are captured and their larvae are analyzed; data is recorded; and tests are conducted to detect any insecticide resistance. The STAC also examined villagers to diagnose human microfilariae in their skin and determine if eye lesions were present. Treatment currently used to combat the disease is either by nodulectomy and/or chemotherapy, but neither is fully effective and mass treatment is difficult. Metrifonate is a promising drug which affects the microfilariae in the cornea without irritating the anterior segment of the eye. Although there are some difficulties in overcoming onchocerciasis, reclamation of the valleys will benefit the population.
New England Journal of Medicine. 1983 Fall; 61(4):659-86.In this examination of Saudi Arabia's health care accomplishments, it is argued that the World Health Organization's primary health care model is not the most appropriate for Saudi Arabia and countries like it. Saudi Arabia's health care policy is closely linked to its very rapid emergence as a new and distinctive society. Whereas most developing countries export physicians, Saudi Arabia imports them because the demand for physicians services cannot be met by the supply of indigenous physicians. Saudi health care development is very different from that of most of the third world. Although the country does have a great deal of western technology, Saudi Arabia seems to be following a different course of development from both the third world and the West. Unlike the West, the cost of medial technolgoy is not a problem for Saudi Arabia. Rather, it solves the problem of how to allocate its oil wealth to maintain political stability. The Saudis intend to make the best health care available to all its citizens; they are very concerned about the effect of modern technology on tradition. Therefore, the selection of technology is based on its cultural compatability, rather than on its costs. Primary care may be more technological and specialized than in the West. In Saudi Arabia primary health care may eventually be delivered entirely by specialists, rather than by general or family practitioners. The Saudis are expected to develop a health care system that will meet their particular needs. As with Saudi Arabia itself, health care is experiencing unprecedented change. Thus, the emerging Saudi system will be unique and innovative. Some of its accomplishments will be adopted by other developing countries; Western countries may look to Saudi Arabia as a natural laboratory of health care experimentation.
WHO CHRONICLE. 1980; 34(1):20-3.In order to fulfill the goal of "health for all by the year 2000," the countries of Southeast Asia must be encouraged to establish comprehensive drug policies. This would remedy the present situation where access to life-saving drugs and essential drugs is limited and national health resources are wasted on less important medicines. The comprehensive drug policy could streamline every aspect of the pharmaceutical and supply system, ensuring high quality, safety and efficacy of the drugs. Each country's ministry of health should coordinate the program with aid from the WHO Regional Committee. Technical cooperation among the countries of the region is essential and establishment of eventual self-sufficiency with respect to essential drugs is encouraged. Traditional medicine and traditional medical practitioners should be integrated into the existing institutional system. Training of traditional practitioners in the preventive and promotive aspects of primary health care would improve the existing system. Since there is a lack of pharmacists in the region, the training of additional pharmacists should be a priority item in any new comprehensive drug program.
World Health. 1979 NOv; 6-9.Health is not just the absence of disease or infirmity but the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, according to the WHO Constitution. The presence and extent of endemic diseases, the environment, population increase, and health services available are predictable and controllable factors which need addressing. The foremost problem is the establishment of clean and safe water supplies. Immunization against diseases such as smallpox, diptheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, and measles is needed along with nutrition education and pre and postnatal care for women and infants. Under the heading of "improved standards of living" comes literacy and economic welfare which can contribute to or impede efforts to attain good health for all by the year 2000. Political upheavals can hamper the implementation of health plans. The countries that most need political stability are the ones plagued by drastic and frequent changes of their political systems. Military hostilities may result in devastation, famine, epidemics, and other health influencing types of suffering. International organizations are required to play a leading role in affecting world public opinion and reducing the suffering resulting from military hostilities and oppressive regimes. If the target of Health for All is to be achieved, many groups will have to cooperate to attain it.
WHO CHRONICLE. 1979 Nov; 33(11):399-406.The World Health Organization's "health for all" goal by the year 2000 appears to be a formidable task. However, many possible obstacles have already been identified, and realistic appraisal of resources suggest that it is possible to overcome these obstacles. Science and technology, along with political commitment and appropriate social organizations have significant roles to play in achieving the health for all objective. For developing countries, political commitment means the allocation of a greater share of health resources to the underserved majority of the population. The current picture of the world health situation shows that approximately 4/5 of the world's population are disadvantaged because of grossly inadequate and sometimes inaccessible systems of health care. Some of the major health problems plaguing the developing world are: l) communicable diseases, including parasitic infections; 2) other diseases such as cancer; cardiovascular and metabolic diseases; mental disorders; 3) environmental health problems (contaminated water; inadequate sewage and waste disposal facilities; poor food hygiene; inadequate housing); 4) minimal standards of family health and planning; 5) inadequate provision of essential pharmaceuticals; 6) use of traditional medicine; 7) psychosocial factors; 8) high technology and costly materials; 9) a great lack of appropriately trained technicians; l0) unavailability of relevant health information; and ll) weak institutional infrastructure.
WHO Chronicle 33(6):203-208. June 1979.The Action Programme on Essential Drugs is an internationally-sponsored program of technical cooperation which was started by the World Health Orgnaization (WHO). The Program aims to: 1) strengthen national capabilities of developing countries in selecting, supplying, distributing, and using essential drugs; 2) strengthen local quality control and production, where possible, of such drugs; and 3) provide essential drugs and vaccines to developing countries. Drugs considered essential will differ from 1 country to another depending on available medical personnel and prevalent diseases. In the next several years, development of primary health services will go concurrently with development of pharmaceutical supply systems adapted to the specific needs of the country's population. Technical cooperation should be facilitated through international assistance. Current activities of the Program in each of the WHO regions are summarized.