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IPPF OPEN FILE. 1992 Jun; 1.On may 8, 1992, IPPF's Western Hemisphere Regional Office exhibited, at UN headquarters in New York City, 500,000 flowers representing the same number of women who die each year from pregnancy complications. Indeed 99% of these maternal deaths occurred in developing countries, especially Africa. 50 UN ambassadors and representatives attended this event which was endorsed by 40 health and development organizations. Film celebrity Lauren Hutton also attended to show her support. IPPF hoped this event would bring attention to the ongoing need to reduce unwanted pregnancy by providing family planning information and services. The Regional Director of IPPF noted that family planning is the most cost effective means to do so. The Regional Office's Programme Support Director also emphasized the need for trained birth attendants, emergency obstetric care, and proper nutrition. In 1990, the number of unwanted births was about 30 million. For each maternal death, 10-15 women are disabled during childbirth and 25 million pregnant women face serious childbirth complications. A World Bank study showed that if governments would invest just US$1.50/person/year to include prenatal care and family planning into primary health care programs, maternal deaths would fall considerably within 10 years. This amount had been invested during the last 15 years, IPPF would have only needed to display 167,000 flowers. If governments do not take action soon, IPPF will need to display 650,000 flowers in 2000. The Western Hemisphere Regional Office of IPPF has therefore established the Planned Motherhood Fund to expand and strengthen family planning and appropriate health services for women at highest risk of pregnancy-related death, especially teenagers and women in rural areas and urban slums.
In: Issues in contemporary international health, edited by Thomas A. Lambo and Stacey B. Day. New York, New York, Plenum Medical Book Company, 1990. 113-33.The causes of mortality and disability in the world are reviewed, and the 4 most important mechanisms for promoting maternal and child health are proposed: female literacy, family planning, community-based efforts and global strategies for international cooperation. The health needs of women, children and adolescents, who make up the majority and the most vulnerable segment of the population, must be met. Malnutrition is the single most important cause of health problems through adult life, and affects 20 million children in Africa alone. Statistics are cited for infant mortality, vaccine-preventable diseases, diarrheal diseases and respiratory infections, infant mortality and maternal mortality. The key determinant of infant survival is female literacy. Existing scientific cooperation is the closet thing we have to a global international community. An example of applied scientific solutions to health care is the risk approach in maternal health care. 2 strategies of scientific cooperation have emerged: the international center model in a country or region to address a specific problem, and the task force model, as used effectively by WHO, UNICEF, and the Task Force for Child Survival. Research topics on health in developing countries are listed that could be tackled by universities and scientific networks, e.g. scientific research is lacking on how to make household hygiene effective in poor countries. A concerted global research effort and surveillance effort is needed for AIDS.