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[Prevention of female genital mutilation in Sweden] Forebyggande av kvinnlig konsstympning v Sverige.
NORDISK MEDICIN. 1996 Dec; 111(10):358-60.In Goteborg, Sweden, a 3-year project was carried out among immigrant women about female genital mutilation, which involved discussion, information, and training to improve the situation of the women afflicted. It is estimated that there are around 115 million such women in Africa alone. In Europe there an estimated 50,000 young women who come from areas where female genital mutilation is practiced. In Sweden there are 16,000 such women and in the Goteborg area there are 2000-3000 who are at risk of being subjected to this practice. There are no exact figures about the number of those who have undergone this operation. The procedure includes Sunna mutilation and Pharaonic mutilation. The consequences are hemorrhage, shock, damage to the urethra, sepsis, the risk of HIV infection because of scarification, urinary retention, psychological trauma, development of fistula, dyspareunia, and infertility. In recent years there has been more open discussion about this practice, which is rooted in the male domination of women in Arab and African countries. International organizations have also addressed the issue in order to prevent it: the Inter Africa Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Mothers and Children, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and UNESCO. The first European conference on the subject was held in 1992 in London, and preventive strategies were developed. In 1982 Sweden had already adopted a law banning the practice. In 1993 the Goteborg immigration authority initiated a 3-year project about the practice, stressing collaboration with the immigrant women and their families as well as the personnel in health facilities, social agencies, schools, and immigrant processing centers. Two working groups were formed: one for health personnel including some Somali women and one for social agency personnel. In February, 1995, the guidelines for information transferral for health personnel were presented, which are now used locally.
AIDS / STD HEALTH PROMOTION EXCHANGE. 1996; (4):8-9.The European Commission (EC) supports programs using radio to inform and educate about HIV and AIDS in developing countries, particularly with regard to illiterate or rural populations. In 1992, in Comoros (where 80% of adults and 65% of persons aged 15-25 listen to radio and there is no national television and only one printed medium--a French magazine), as part of a National AIDS Programme initiative aimed at mobilizing youth and women leaders, two journalists of the national radio channel produced an EC-supported series of 20 radio programs that were broadcast twice weekly every other week as part of the popular program "Sante" (Health). A series of 11 programs were broadcast in 1994-95 by Radio Comoros and by two private stations that were popular with youth. Surveys showed the following: 1) the popular shows were the main source of information on HIV/AIDS and were particularly successful in rural communities when broadcast in the local language; 2) the majority of villagers wanted this and other health information to continue; and 3) public information regarding sexuality was accepted by a large majority. The radio series caused Islamic religious leaders to discuss HIV prevention and condoms. An EC-supported project in Morocco occurred in 1993. The 3-month national information campaign about HIV/AIDS covered myths and rumors, infection risks, prevention measures, the disease and women and youth, the epidemic's socioeconomic impact, the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and the role of the media. A 1-hour program in Arabic was broadcast twice a week for 24 weeks, 12 30-minute programs were broadcast in three Berber dialects, and several short spots were aired daily. The program format included presentations and discussions by health staff, psychologists, sociologists, and NGO staff; listener participation was allowed. 1000 men and 700 women were surveyed using a questionnaire. Roadside interviews were conducted in some cities. These showed that the information was understood. Many listeners criticized the lack of information on television and wanted more information broadcast.
Tunis, Tunisia, IPPF, Arab World Region, 1996. , 16,  p.This annual report of the Arab Region of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) opens with a message from the Chair of the Regional Council, who notes that the IPPF is adopting new strategies to meet the challenges in its "Vision 2000" plan. The Arab Region has aided this effort by engaging in strategic planning, amending its constitution to empower women, and boosting youth participation. Next the regional director summarizes the following areas of interest in this report: 1) training family planning associations to engage in strategic planning and project development; 2) strengthening the Euro-Arab partnership; 3) generating interest in youth-related concerns; 4) empowering women; 5) evaluating progress in implementing the recommendations of the International Conference on Population and Development; and 6) establishing firm links with other organizations. The report also deals with efforts to incorporate the concept of male responsibility, collaboration, and understanding as the notion of responsible parenthood is promoted. Specific programs described include a ground-breaking youth peer-group program in Algeria; a method of information diffusion that incorporates the oral poetic tradition; and use of operations research to upgrade service provision in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. Efforts to insure that the development of evaluation indicators occurs during project planning and implementation are also discussed. The report closes by presenting the financial report for 1995.
AIDS WEEKLY PLUS. 1996 Dec 9; 7-8.The Female Health Co. (FHC), London, United Kingdom, has signed a three-year agreement with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) to provide a global public sector price for the female condom to 193 affiliated countries. An adjunct education and social marketing program, supported by UNAIDS, will be launched. High rates of acceptance have been shown previously when the female condom has been introduced with an effective educational approach. Negotiations between FHC and UNAIDS began in September 1996; 80 of 193 countries, upon inquiry, have already identified a requirement for over 7 million female condoms in 1997. UNAIDS estimates that nearly 50% of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections are in women; the female condom is the only woman-controlled product providing protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Studies have indicated that the number of unprotected sex acts decreases when the female condom is available. Dr. Peter Piot (UNAIDS) states that the female condom is important in those cultures and situations where women have limited control over sexual decisions. Dr. Mary Ann Leeper (FHC) states that the company is committed to making the female condom available in developing countries.
JOICFP NEWS. 1996 Feb; (260):5.The UNFPA-supported project on development and distribution of information, education, and communication (IEC) materials in support of improving women's health and status was evaluated at a workshop held in Tokyo in December 13-15, 1995. The 1992-95 cycle of the project was analyzed by experts from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Vietnam plus three experts from the UNFPA/Country Support Team. The workshop also made it possible for the experts to identify needs as well as effective utilization of existing IEC materials. It was suggested that a nongovernmental organization be established for the distribution and effective use of these materials. The workshop mostly reviewed the print and audiovisual materials. Videos were also evaluated. The materials were found useful for the targeted region. Among other subregional issues it was noted that youth needs were inadequately addressed as they related to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), unwanted pregnancy, risk of maternal mortality and morbidity, low birth weight, and premature birth. Although the women of the region comprise one-third of the world's population, 70% of the global annual maternal mortality of 500,000 occurs in the subregion. IEC materials should also target adolescents and their support groups. Other needs were also outlined: the expansion of educational opportunities for women, the promotion of employment, the involvement of men, and the training of personnel. The strategies used in the cycle helped strengthen self-reliance through information and experience sharing. The focus on women should be continued with more attention paid to adolescents and young adults, including males. Women's health issues should be expanded to include menopause, reproductive tract infections, STDs, HIV/AIDS prevention, and legal rights including abortion. The production of IEC materials should be identified through research and analysis of existing materials, focus group discussions, or field visits.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD CHALLENGES. 1996; (1):12-4.The International Planned Parenthood Federation's Vision 2000 Strategic Plan has emphasized advocacy and the training of family planning associations (FPAs) in the Western Hemisphere region. During the summer of 1995 training programs in advocacy leadership management were sponsored for six FPAs in the Bahamas, Suriname, Belize, Colombia, Honduras, and Brazil. At the Western Hemisphere Regional Council Meeting in September 1995 awards were presented to FPAs for media outstanding projects. These FPAs used outreach to the community to promote the goals of Vision 2000. The Bahamas FPA won the Rosa Cisneros Award for articles published in a magazine that is distributed in primary and secondary schools and deals with the activities, achievements, and opinions of students. Issues include: love, relationships, responsibility, and teen pregnancy. A weekly television talk show also addresses the issues facing youth including education, music, community work, sexuality, pregnancy, and the relationship between teenagers and adults. The Family Planning Association of Honduras was also nominated for the award for a radio show on the health of mothers and children, the problems of adolescents, and FP. The newspaper Tiempo received the award for feature articles on social issues and FP. In 1994 the Association distributed thousands of booklets on contraceptives as well as fliers on vasectomy, female sterilization, oral contraceptives, IUDs, condoms, responsible parenthood, high-risk pregnancy, vaginal cytology, and cervical cancer. Similar posters were placed in hospitals and health centers, in 1997 FP posts, and 400 commercial outlets. The Family Planning Association of Suriname also carried out an impressive advocacy program during the period of 1968-93 with the goals of establishing a balance between population growth and the available resources to achieve well-being with regard to education, health care, nutrition, and housing.