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  1. 1

    Population in the Arab world: problems and prospects.

    Omran AR

    New York, United Nations Fund for Population Activities; London, England, Croom Helm, 1980. 215 p.

    The Arab population, consisting of 20 states and the people of Palestine, was almost 153 million in 1978 and is expected to reach 300 million by the year 2000. Most Arab countries have a high population growth rate of 3%, a young population structure with about 50% under age 15, a high rate of marriage, early age of marriage, large family size norm, and an agrarian rural community life, along with a high rate of urban expansion. Health patterns are also similar with epidemic diseases leading as causes of mortality and morbidity. But there is uneven distribution of wealth in the region with per capita annual income ranging from US$100 in Somalia to US$12,050 in Kuwait; health care is also more elaborate in the wealthier countries. Fertility rates are high in most countries, with crude birthrates about 45/1000 compared with 32/1000 in the world as a whole and 17/1000 in most developed countries. In many Arab countries up to 30-50% of total investment is involved in population-related activities compared to 15% in European countries. There is also increasing pressure in the educational and health systems with the same amount of professionals dealing with an increasing amount of people. Unplanned and excessive fertility also contributes to health problems for mothers and children with higher morbidity, mortality, and nutrition problems. Physical isolation of communities contributes to difficulties in spreading health care availability. Urban population is growing rapidly, 6%/year in most Arab cities, and at a rate of 10-15% in the cities of Kuwait and Qatar; this rate is not accompanied by sufficient urban planning policies or modernization. A unique population problem in this area is that of the over 2 million Palestinians living in and outside the Middle East who put demographic pressures on the Arab countries. 2 major constraints inhibit efforts to solve the Arab population problem: 1) the difficulty of actually reallocating the people to achieve more even distribution, and 2) cultural and political sensitivities. Since in the Arab countries fertility does not correlate well with social and economic indicators, it is possible that development alone will not reduce the fertility of the Arab countries unless rigorous and effective family planning policies are put into action.
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  2. 2

    World development report 1980.

    World Bank

    Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1980 Aug. 166 p.

    This report examines some of the difficulties and prospects faced by developing countries in continuing their social and economic development and tackling poverty for the next 5-10 years. The 1st part of the report is about the economic policy choices facing both developing and richer countries and about the implications of these choices for growth. The 2nd part of the report reviews other ways to reduce poverty such as focusing on human development (education and training, health and nutrition, and fertility reduction). Throughout the report economic projections for developing countries have been carried out, drawing on the World Bank's analysis of what determines country and regional growth. Oil-exporting countries will face greater economic growth; their average GNP per person could grow 3-3.5% in the 1980s. Oil-importing countries will develop slower or fall to 1.8%/year. Poverty in oil-importing developing countries could grow at about 2.4% GNP/person and by 1990 there would be 80 million fewer people in absolute poverty. Factors which will contribute to the economic problems of developing countries are trade (import/export), energy, and capital flow. The progress of developing countries depends on internal policies and initiatives concerning investment and production efficiency, human development and population. Not only can human development increase growth but it can help to reduce absolute poverty.
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  3. 3

    WHO: breast is best.

    Wasserman U

    Journal of World Trade law. 1980 Sep-Oct; 14(5):451-4.

    During its annual session in May 1980, the World Health Assembly endorsed a joint World Health Organization/UNICEF recommendation regarding infant feeding practices in developing areas. The recommendation was to the effect that breast-feeding be promoted by the health care establishment in developing countries and that the promotion of breast milk substitutes be restricted to factual and ethical information to health personnel and be prohibited to the public. The International Council of Infant Food Industries has indicated support for the recommendation but insisted that promotion of breast milk substitutes be made to health professionals. While it is recognized that unsupplemented breast milk is adequate for the 1st 4-6 months of life, that is only true where mothers are receiving proper nutrition. The lack of a pure water supply for the reconstitution of formula supplements is responsible for inadequate infant nutrition in developing countries, not merely the use of formula supplements.
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  4. 4

    World food and nutrition: the scientific and technological base.

    Wortman S

    SCIENCE. 1980 Jul 4; 209(4452):157-64.

    In order to combat the growing food problem in developing countries, efforts must be directed toward 1) increasing food production through agricultural intensification and through improving transportation, water, storage, communication, banking, and processing systems; 2) increasing the purchasing power of the poor; and 3) slowing down population growth. Science and technology can play a significant role in increasing food production and generating rural income. Agricultural technology cannot be transfered directly from the developed nations, located primarily in temperature zones, to the developing countries, located primarily in tropical and sub-tropical zones. A 3 tiered research system aimed at developing appropriate agricultural techniques and crops for developing countries is evolving. The 1st tier consists of small, national research centers, located in the developing countries. These centers conduct applied research aimed at determining which seed varieties, fertilizers, disease and pest control methods, and cropping methods are most appropriate for their own farm areas. The 2nd tier consists of a number of international or regional research institutes, located in developing countries and directed toward solving specific regional problems. For example, the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines conducts research aimed at improving rice yields and trains people to use these techniques while the Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas, located in Lebanon and Syria, seeks to develop seeds and cropping systems tailored for use in dry regions. In 1969 a number of these institutes recognized that a united effort would be advantageous, and the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) was established. CGIAR, sponsored by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Food and Agriculture Organization, supports the work of these institutes and helps develop new institutes. At the present time the CGIAR supports 13 centers and has an operating budget of $120 million. The CGIAR advisory committee, composed of 13 agricultural experts, sets global priorities and monitors the work of the institutes. The 3rd tier in the research system consists of institutes, which are located in developed countries and which engage primarily in basic agricultural research. In the future, greater efforts should be made to 1) increase private sector participation; 2) strengthen the links between the research levels; and 3) encourage political leaders to commit themselves to solving the hunger problem.
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  5. 5

    Baby formula: the continuing controversy.

    Agenda. 1980 Mar; 3(2):8-11.

    Although the baby formula controversy continues, an important step toward resolving the issue was undertaken recently at an international conference of industry representatives, physicians, and nutritionalists, sponsored by WHO and UNICEF. At the conference, industry spokesmen agreed to ban all infant formula advertising which discourages breast-feeding and to ban all promotional activities in hospitals. Opponents pointed out that 1) the success of the ban is dependent on voluntary compliance and 2) the conference failed to address the issue of whether baby formulas were completely inappropriate for use in many developing countries. Conference participants also agreed 1) to stress the contraceptive value of breast-feeding; 2) to promote the use of contraceptives which do not interfere with lactation; 3) to promote nutritional education and the granting of longer maternity leaves to working women. In line with these recommendations AID has initiated a project aimed at helping countries expand and develop maternal health and nutritional program. As part of the project, AID will help the American Public Health Association develop a clearinghouse for infant and child nutritional information and will lend assistance to a number of organizations which plan to develop nutritional training programs. AID will also assist a number of organizations in their investigation of infant formula marketing practices and will help the Department of Agriculture develop and market local weaning foods.
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