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Plan of action for the eradication of harmful traditional practices affecting the health of women and children in Africa.
[Unpublished] 1987. 14 p.The traditional and harmful practices such as early marriage and pregnancy, female circumcision, nutritional taboos, inadequate child spacing, and unprotected delivery continue to be the reality for women in many African nations. These harmful traditional practices frequently result in permanent physical, psychological, and emotional changes for women, at times even death, yet little progress has been realized in abolishing these practices. At the Regional Seminar of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children in Africa, held in Ethiopia during April 1987, guidelines were drawn by which national governments and local bodies along with international and regional organizations might take action to protect women from these unnecessary hazardous traditional practices. These guidelines constitute this "Plan of Action for the Eradication of Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children in Africa." The plan should be implemented within a decade. These guidelines include both shortterm and longterm strategies. Actions to be taken in terms of the organizational machinery are outlined, covering both the national and regional levels and including special support and the use of the mass media. Guidelines are included for action to be taken in regard to childhood marriage and early pregnancy. These cover the areas of education -- both formal and nonformal -- measures to improve socioeconomic status and health, and enacting laws against childhood marriage and rape. In the area of female circumcision, the short term goal is to create awareness of the adverse medical, psychological, social and economic implications of female circumcision. The time frame for this goal is 24 months. The longterm goal is to eradicate female circumcision by 2000 and to restore dignity and respect to women and to raise their status in society. Also outlined are actions to be taken in terms of food prohibitions which affect mostly women and children, child spacing and delivery practices, and legislative and administrative measures. Women in the African region have a critical role to play both in the development of their countries and in the solution of problems arising from the practice of harmful traditions.
MIDWIVES CHRONICLE. 1985 Jul; 98(1170):200-1.At the April meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), experts in occupational health concluded that there is no evidence to justify the exclusion of women from any type of employment. Yet, they simultaneously underscored the need for conditions in places of work to be adapted to women, and in particular to those women employed in manual work, whether agriculture or manufacture. This was WHO's 1st meeting on the subject of health and the working woman. According to the experts, anatomical and physiological differences between men and women should not limit job opportunities. As more and more women enter the work force, machines need to be redesigned to take into account the characteristics of working women. In industries where strength is a requirement, e.g., mining, a certain level of body strength and size should be established and applied to both sexes. Also recommended were measures to protect women of childbearing age, who form the majority of women in the work force, against the hazards of chemicals -- gases, lead, solder fumes, sterilizing agents, pesticides -- and other threats to health deriving from the work places. Chemicals or ionizing radiation absorbed into the body could lead to mutagenicity, not only of women but also of men. In cases where a woman has conceived, mutagenicity could mean fetal death, or, where damage is done to sperm or ovum, lead to congenital malformation and to leukemia in newborns. Solvents so absorbed could appear in breast milk, thus poisoning the baby. Ionizing radiation, used in several industrial operations, also has been linked to breast cancer. As women increasingly take jobs that once used to be done solely by men, more needs to be known about the hazards of their health and of the psychosocial implications of long working hours. The following were included among recommendations made to increase knowledge and to protect health: that epidemiological studies be conducted in the risk of working women as well as more research on the effects of chemicals on pregnant workers; that working women be allowed to breastfeed children for at least 6 months at facilities set up at work places; and that information and health education programs be carried out to alert women against occupational health hazards.
Who Chronicle. 1984; 38(6):249-55.This article highlights the central features of the 5-Year Regional Plan of Action on Women in Health and Development, adopted by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in 1981. Although the Plan does not mandate specific actions, it encourages certain activities and establishes an annual reporting system concerning these activities. The Plan recognizes that women's health depends upon numerous factors outside of medicine, including women's employment, education, social status, and accepted roles, access to economic resources, and political power. The low status of women is reinforced by the sexual double standard that makes women responsible for the reproductive process yet denies them the right to control that process. The Plan advocates an incremental approach, in which projects 1st focus on priority areas and groups and then expand to provide more general benefits. Programs exclusively for women are not advocated; encouraged, instead, is the integration of women's health and development activities into the mainstream of general activities promoting health. Among the areas targeted for action are the collection of statistics on women's health, women's nutritional problems, environmental health, maternal-child health services, screening for breast and cervical cancer, and family planning . Community participation is proposed as a good vehicle for local action and an essential tool in the campaign for health for all. Efforts must be made to enlist women's support in identifying community needs, planning health actions, selecting appropriate resources and personnel, establishing and administering health services, and evaluating the results. Overall, the Plan provides a solid basis upon which health authorities of the Americas can build.
New York, UNICEF, 1984 May. 280 p.The data in this set of 135 country profiles for 1981 are made up from 9 major sources and cover the countries and territories with which the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) cooperates. In terms of infant morttality, countries are divided into 5 infant mortality groups: a very high infant mortality (a) group of countries, with a 1981 infant mortality rate (IMR) estimate of 150 (rounded) or more deaths per 1000 live births; a very high infant mortality (b) group of countries with a 1981 IMR estimate between 110 (rounded) and 140 (rounded); a high infant mortality group of a middle infant mortality group of countries, with a 1981 IMR estimate of between 26 and 50 (rounded); and a low infnat mortality group of countries, with a 1981 IMR estimate of 25 or less. For each country data are also presented on nutrition, demographic, education, and economic indicators.