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IN POINT OF FACT 1991 Jun; (76):1-3.This paper describes the serious effect of diarrheal and acute respiratory (ARI) disease upon children under 5 years old, and international efforts undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce such mortality. Combined, these diseases account for more then 1/2 of all deaths in this age group, and constitute the most serious threat to their health. WHO estimates for 1990 that diarrheal illnesses caused 3.2 million childhood deaths and that ARI caused 4.3 million. While some child deaths are due to measles and pertussis, the majority is caused by pneumonia and the consequences of diarrheal illnesses. These deaths could be readily averted through the timely, effective treatment of trained health workers with essential drugs. Immunization as well as improved nutrition, particularly through the practice of exclusive breast feeding of the child's 1st 4-6 months of life, are addition weapons potentially employed against child mortality. WHO programs for diarrhea and ARI control focus upon simplified treatment guidelines, training, communication messages, drug supplies, and evaluation methodology. Despite obstacles such as the marketing of useless and/or potentially dangerous anti-diarrheal drugs and cough and cold remedies, and inappropriate breastmilk substitutes and unnecessary foods, widespread progress in program development and implementation has been made over the past decade. Increased amounts of oral rehydration therapy and solutions are available and used, while many health workers have benefited from training programs.
Lot quality assurance sampling techniques in health surveys in developing countries: advantages and current constraints.
WORLD HEALTH STATISTICS QUARTERLY. RAPPORT TRIMESTRIEL DE STATISTIQUES SANITAIRES MONDIALES. 1991; 44(3):133-9.Costly, time-consuming, traditional survey methods usually provide information only at national or regional levels. Information from the health center and community levels is, however, also of interest particularly in managing and directing supervisory activities. An industrial method is described with practical applications for conducting health surveys to monitor health programs in developing countries. This lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS) methodology was developed in industry for quality control, and allows the use of small sample sizes when surveying small geographical or population-based areas. The paper describes the method, explains how to build a sample frame, and how to conduct the sampling necessary for field application of LQAS. Sampling unit selection for health program monitoring is described in detail. Simple- and double-sampling schemes are discussed, as well as interpretation of survey results and the planning of subsequent rounds. Constraints limiting use by health planners are explored with suggestions provided on modes of overcoming obstacles through future research.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE CLINICS OF NORTH AMERICA. 1991 Jun; 5(2):221-34.Public and private domestic expenditures for health in a total 148 developing countries for 1983, were estimated to be $100 billion. 1986 external donor health expenditures totalled $4 billion, a small percentage of overall health expenditure for developing countries. U.S. direct donor assistance for development was 0.5% of the federal budget for 1988, with approximately 10% of all U.S. development assistance allocated for health, nutrition, and population planning. As such, the U.S. accounts for 13% of total health contributions from external donors to developing countries. Approximate at best, private and volunteer organizations are estimated to contribute 20% of all such health assistance. Developing countries are therefore required to efficiently use their own resources in the provision of national health services. Technical assistance and donor experience also counting as external assistance, the overall supply of health financing is far greater than developing country demand in the form of well-articulated, officially approved proposals. Reasons for this imbalance include health ministry unfamiliarity with potential donor sources, passive approaches to external financing, unfamiliarity with proposal preparation, increasing competition from other sectors of developing nations, limited numbers of trained personnel, and lack of an international system of support to mobilize financing. The paper discusses 6 years of Pan American Health Organization interventions for resource mobilization in Latin America and the Caribbean, and suggests World Health Organization regional extension backed by U.S. encouragement and support.
SCIENCE. 1991 Mar 15; 251:1312-3.AIDS scientists met in February 1991 to discuss international trials of AIDS vaccines because of the urgency in conducting such trials since the US Food and Drug Administration approved 6 vaccines for trails. Major problems discussed were how to insure access to potential AIDS vaccines to developing countries, where to conduct future tests of vaccine efficacy, and which of the leading institutions should coordinate such an effort. The most difficult issue centered around who assumes the risks and who benefits. Many researchers considered conducting AIDS vaccine trials in developing countries since they have a large population varied in age and gender at high risk of HIV infection. Assuming an HIV vaccine is effective, additional questions must be addressed: How can a developing country afford a vaccine at free market prices? If that country does get the vaccine should not other developing countries also get it? Who will pay for it and distribute it? WHO has already contacted ministries of health about AIDS trials. Other organizations, e.g., the US Centers for Disease Control and the US National Institutes of Health, also already involved in international AIDS vaccine research do not want to be kept out of the Phase III trials. Some recommended that WHO be the international umbrella, others suggested that no organization control all the research. Nevertheless the vaccine will be produced in a rich country, and if left to the free market, it will be too expensive. 1 suggestions is a 2-tiered pricing plan in which rich countries pay higher prices thereby subsidizing the price in poor countries. Another is a patent exchange where the vaccine developers donate the vaccine patent to an international organization and they in turn can get an extension on an existing patent. Another alternative includes removing AIDS vaccines from the private sector altogether.