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FRONT LINES. 1987 Sep; 27(8):8-9, 11.The USAID's mission in Nepal is to assist development until the people can sustain their own needs: although the US contributes only 5% of donor aid, USAID coordinates donor efforts. The mission's theme is to emphasize agricultural productivity, conserve natural resources, promote the private sector and expand access to health, education and family planning. Nepal, a mountainous country between India and Tibet, has 16 million people growing at 2.5% annually, and a life expectancy of only 51 years. Only 20% of the land is arable, the Kathmandu valley and the Terai strip bordering India. Some of the objectives include getting new seed varieties into cultivation, using manure and compost, and building access roads into the rural areas. Rice and wheat yields have tripled in the '80s relative to the yields achieved in 1970. Other ongoing projects include reforestation, irrigation and watershed management. Integrated health and family planning clinics have been established so that more than 50% of the population is no more than a half day's walk from a health post. The Nepal Fertility Study of 1976 found that only 2.3% of married women were using modern contraceptives. Now the Contraceptive Retail Sales Private Company Ltd., a social marketing company started with USAID help, reports that the contraceptive use rate is now 15%. Some of the other health targets are control of malaria, smallpox, tuberculosis, leprosy, acute respiratory infections, and malnutrition. A related goal is raising the literacy rate for women from the current 12% level. General education goals are primary education teacher training and adult literacy. A few descriptive details about living on the Nepal mission are appended.
American Universities Field Staff Reports. African Series. 1981; No. 2:1-10.Bilharzia, or schistosomiasis, ranks 2nd to malaria as the major health hazard of the tropics. It is generally associated with hot, humid climates and rural poverty. There is as yet no means of vaccination or inoculation against bilharzia. In fact, some of the development activity in these areas, e.g., dam construction and irrigation projects, has actually helped the spread of the disease. Because it can thrive in a variety of ecological conditions, the control meansures must be site-specific. The UN has funded a pilot project in Swaziland, involving personnel from 3 of its international agencies, to aid in bilharzia control. A complementary program has been funded by USAID (Agency for International Development) for a 5-year period. Both try to avoid the pitfalls of earlier chemical, biological, and mechanical schemes. And both avoid high capital investment. The UN project is attempting to provide clean water to rural inhabitants. This project, in addition to its health and social aspects, also improves the life of women in the area by decreasing the water-carrying work. It has facilitated interbureaucratic cooperation. The US project focusses on safe water provision and sanitation education for the local communities.