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BMJ (CLINICAL RESEARCH ED.). 1998 Mar 28; 316(7136):960.In the UK, Dr. David Southall courts publicity for child advocacy issues and takes risks to improve child health and well-being. Some of his methods have been controversial, such as conducting research on the effects of high altitudes (including air travel) on infants and the use of covert video surveillance to trap suspected child abusers. In order to end child abuse, Southall willingly breaks the trust between himself as a child's physician and parents, considering the child his patient. Southall also notes that his charity, Child Advocacy International, has suffered sabotage in a campaign against his activities orchestrated by organized child sexual abuse rings. Southall spent 4 years in adult medicine, 1 year in obstetrics, and 2 years as a general practitioner before embarking on a 21-year career in pediatrics. Now he is interested in advocacy for international child health. His charity gives physicians an opportunity to engage in international work in Afghanistan, Albania, and Bosnia. He set up Child Advocacy International after being appalled by conditions he encountered on a 1993 trip to Bosnia to evacuate sick and injured children. Southall believes that developing countries should organize primary and secondary health care systems in tandem.
[Unpublished] . 155 p. (Communication for Action)In preparation for a social mobilization response to the goals outlined in the "Presidential Declaration of a Decade for the Protection and Development of the Egyptian Child, 1989-99" and the "World Summit for Children," a baseline study was conducted in 1990 to assess communicators' knowledge and perceptions of basic child care issues. Mini-rapid studies were conducted with six groups of personnel in a position to influence public opinion: mass media professionals (230), health professionals (225), members of active nongovernmental organizations (160), educators (224), religious leaders (123), and public figures (41). The questionnaire included basic health knowledge, perceptions of general problems facing Egyptian society, several attitude scales, and 6 different modules addressed to each of the groups. The majority of communicators identified Egypt's economic situation and population explosion as the most pressing social issues. Knowledge about child health issues, especially oral rehydration therapy, was generally inadequate for the needs of the child survival campaign. The mean knowledge score was 17.35 out of a maximum of 24, with health workers scoring highest and public officials lowest. Electronic mass media were ranked as most influential for disseminating health messages. Although health workers have the most direct contact with families, they were not perceived by other influentials as a major source of information because of their lack of training in communication. The importance placed on economics and population growth suggests that child welfare advocates should relate campaign messages to these issues, e.g., the impact on the economy of improved maternal-child health.
[Opinions of Honduran adults about street children] Opiniones de los adultos Hondurenos respecto a los ninos callejeros.
BOLETIN DE LA OFICINA SANITARIA PANAMERICANA. 1993 Feb; 114(2):105-14.This 1991 study compared the attitudes and beliefs of parents of children working in the street and of business people in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, toward children who live and work in the street. The study distinguished between children who worked in the street for all or part of each day but who maintained relatively normal family ties and slept at home most nights and abandoned children who lived in the streets and maintained few or no family ties. The sample of parents consisted of 5 fathers and 44 mothers who worked in 1 of 5 markets where Project Alternatives offered social services to street children and their families. The 15 male and 34 female merchants were owners or managers of businesses in the central city of Tegucigalpa and were selected to represent higher social strata. The questionnaires consisted of 36 statements about street children with which respondents were asked to agree or disagree. The questionnaire contained sections on the modes of life of the working and abandoned children and on reasons why they adopted their way of life. The 49 parents ranged in age from 24 to 70 years and averaged 38.3 years, while the merchants ranged from 18 to 68 years and averaged 37.3%. Most of the parents had primary or no education, while only 4% of the business people had primary only and none was illiterate. The 2 groups were in complete agreement on only 2 items: that abandoned children have many health problems, and that the government should provide more assistance for them. There was general agreement on many other aspects of the life of street children. The parents of working children were more likely to believe the children themselves were responsible for their decision to live or work on the street. The parents also were more likely to recognize the health risks to both groups of children. The business group felt that abandoned children were at a significantly greater risk than working children.
HEALTH FOR THE MILLIONS. 1991 Aug; 17(4):20-3.Until recently, the only sustained AIDS activity in India has been alarmist media attention complemented by occasional messages calling for comfort and dignity. Public perception of the AIDS epidemic in India has been effectively shaped by mass media. Press reports have, however, bolstered awareness of the problem among literate elements of urban populations. In the absence of sustained guidance in the campaign against AIDS, responsibility has fallen to voluntary health activists who have become catalysts for community awareness and participation. This voluntary initiative, in effect, seems to be the only immediate avenue for constructive public action, and signals the gradual development of an AIDS network in India. Proceedings from a seminar in Ahmedabad are discussed, and include plans for an information and education program targeting sex workers, health and communication programs for 150 commercial blood donors and their agents, surveillance and awareness programs for safer blood and blood products, and dialogue with the business community and trade unions. Despite the lack of coordination among volunteers and activists, every major city in India now has an AIDS group. A controversial bill on AIDS has ben circulating through government ministries and committees since mid-1989, a national AIDS committee exists with the Secretary of Health as its director, and a 3-year medium-term national plan exists for the reduction of AIDS and HIV infection and morbidity. UNICEF programs target mothers and children for AIDS awareness, and blood testing facilities are expected to be expanded. The article considers the present chaos effectively productive in forcing the Indian population to face up to previously taboo issued of sexuality, sex education, and sexually transmitted disease.
Assignment Children. 1984; (65/68):37-42.The potential for the Child Survival and Development Revolution (CSDR) can only be realized, and a significant reduction in the infant mortality achieved, if all forces are mobilized worldwide. In industrialized countries, it is essential that the general public become aware of the recent breakthroughs in social development, and that the potential only now exists to reduce infant mortality and to improve child development on the basis of a combination of new knowledge and communication capacities that now exist in developing countries. National Committees for UNICEF, meeting in Rome in October 1984, developed lines of action for disseminating the CDSR message to the public in their respective countries and in mobilizing public opinion, NGOs and governments. A 3-point action plan was drawn up, to include awareness-raising through the diffusion of the CSDR message to target groups (media, opinion leaders); through an assessment in each of their countries of immunization levels, breastfeeding, and growth monitoring practices and advocacy with NGOs working on behalf of children in developing countries so that the measures recommended by UNICEF are included in their projects.