Health, Nutrition and Population

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  • Publication
    Reducing Maternal Mortality : Learning from Bolivia, China, Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, and Zimbabwe
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-04) Koblinsky, Marjorie A.; Koblinsky, Marjorie A.
    Of the 515,000 maternal deaths that occur every year worldwide, 99 percent take place in developing countries. Women In the developing world have a 1 in 48 chance of dying from pregnancy-related causes; the ratio in industrial countries is 1 in 1,800. Of all the human development indicators, the greatest discrepancy between industrial, and developing countries is in maternal health. The stimulus for this study was the question - Can current program strategies reduce maternal mortality faster that the decades required in the historically successful countries of Malaysia, and Sri Lanka? The answer was no. Based on case studies in seven selected countries, the study stipulates the factor common to all reviewed programs, is the high availability of a provider who is, either a skilled birth attendant, or closely connected with a capable referral system. A second common factor is the high availability of facilities that can provide basic, and essential obstetric care. But, unlike historic successes however, strong government policy now focuses explicitly on safe motherhood, and sets the tone for programs in most of the selected countries. Another difference between the case studies selected, and that in historically successful countries, is the financing of services: while service were free to families in Malaysia and Sri Lanka, costs of safe motherhood services are now substantial, and a major deterrent to use.
  • Publication
    HIV/AIDS in Latin American Countries : The Challenges Ahead
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003) Garcia Abreu, Anabela; Noguer, Isabel; Cowgill, Karen
    HIV/AIDS in Latin America falls within the framework of a low endemic setting. In the majority of the countries, the epidemic is still concentrated in high-risk populations: men who have sex with men (MSM), injecting drug users (IDUs), commercial sex workers (CSWs), prisoners, and people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The exceptions are Honduras and southeastern Brazil, where the epidemic has reached the general population. Heterosexual sex is the primary mode of transmission in Central America, with sex between men predominating in South America, and injecting drug use playing a significant role in the Southern Cone. Survey respondents also identified other populations with increased vulnerability in which interventions would be crucial-young people and women. Although the number of men living with AIDS outweighs the number of women in all countries, the gender gap is closing, and in some countries, the effect of AIDS on rural communities is increasing rapidly. In low endemic settings, the main priority is the highest risk groups, and activities to address HIV/AIDS should be focused on (1) strengthening efforts to prevent new infections in these populations, and (2) providing care and support strategies, which in turn create incentives for early detection of infection and/or risky behavior. Epidemiological surveillance plays a key role in the control of the epidemic through the measurement of frequency, distribution, and evolution of HIV/AIDS among populations; identification of high-risk groups; and evaluation of the effectiveness of prevention efforts.