Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)

WHEC Update - April, 2007

A Newsletter of worldwide activity of Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)
April 2007; Vol. 2, No. 4

Anniversary Edition

The year was 2001. It was the turn of a new century, and we thought it might be the perfect time for a new kind of peer-reviewed journal in obstetrics and gynecology. In today's real world, everyone loves and is fascinated with - Internet. Education can be lot of fun. Internet-Classrooms were a brilliant concept we hit upon when we created WomensHealthSection.com - Women's Health Education for a global community. It was an idea whose time had definitely come. What a great notion, build a portal for better understanding of reproductive health and different cultures. I am always interested in the process, how you figure out things, getting inside of a world of internet and computer that you are never a part of, and learning all about it. That was what this e-learning publication is all about. It has become something of an interactive experience for the readers and writers / editors. We are so proud that WomensHealthSection.com has become a landmark of US Educational and 157 countries' educational system, hoping that we have innovated the genre and internet in general by injecting qualities. We hope this helps you become even more - a WHEC insider. So click on WomensHealthSection.com and take another step into our world, where social sciences and medical sciences blend together, and education is really fun. Producing good content takes time and devotion. WHEC is grateful to the writers / editors and physicians who contributed their priceless research to the publication.

As much as I am enjoying the unfolding of my Second-Life; I can see challenges ahead. Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC) came into being on 12th April 2001, and opened its doors to welcome patients. Our patients are our teachers and it is indeed a privilege to take care of them. In the spirit of growth in this digital age, this e-learning publication has been recently redesigned. Increased exposure of the publication's content has brought heightened awareness of certain issues, especially gynecologic-oncology. I am glad this wealth of information is used by healthcare providers in 157 countries and its popularity is growing fast. We hope this will prove to be a useful addition for your readers. We have accomplished a lot in 6 years and many more to come!

A Future within Reach
Rita Luthra, MD

Your Questions, Our Reply:

What is the most important issue on your agenda? What is the role of WHEC in promoting maternal and child health worldwide?

Universal Coverage for maternal and child health: Working towards universal coverage of maternal, newborn and child health interventions is our mission. In shaping the global political economy with the view to protecting health in particular that in the most deprived populations is a challenge for rich and poor countries alike. The 58th World Health Assembly Resolution (WHA58. 31) call on World Health Organization to strengthen coordination, collaboration and synergies of World Health Organization programs including those for health systems development. Universal access for mothers and children requires health systems to be able to respond to the needs and demands of the population, and to offer them protection against the financial hardship that results from ill-health. Children are the future of society and their mothers are guardians of that future. To make this possible; investments in health systems and in the human resources for health need to be stepped up. The priority areas are: advocacy in support of activities and decision-making at all levels; partnerships to increase funding and coordination in order to make the provision of services more effective and efficient; monitoring and evaluating the implementation of interventions in order to measure changes in practice and impact in terms of health gains.

Long-term sustained improvements in maternal and child health require long-term commitments that go well beyond the political lifespan of many decision-makers. The proper technical strategies can be put in place effectively only if they are implemented, across programs and service providers, throughout pregnancy and childbirth through to childhood. It makes no sense to provide care for a child and ignore the mother, or to worry about a mother giving birth and fail to pay attention to the health of the baby. Policies that increase women's decision-making power, particularly in regard to their own health, are also essential. The support of families and communities is the key to reducing maternal mortality. Input from a wide range of groups and individuals is therefore essential, including community and religious leaders, women's groups, youth groups, other local associations, and healthcare professionals. There is no doubt that health workers are the cornerstone of functioning health systems.

Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC) addresses through its publications the most pressing public health concerns of populations around the world. To ensure the widest possible availability of authoritative information and guidance on public health matters, WHEC encourages its translation and adaptation.

About NGO Association with the UN:

Fourth Committee: Special Political and Decolonization - Autonomy eludes millions of people in the world. More than 2 million people continue to live in some 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories, even as the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2001-2010) reached half way point. For that reason, the issue of decolonization, along with mine-action assistance, peace-keeping operations and the work of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), topped the Fourth Committee's agenda. They represent unfinished business of the United Nations in regard to the inalienable rights of people. Many of the obstacles towards self-government trace back to a lack of information flowing to and from the Territories, partly resulting from a lack of serious attention to decades of resolutions on decolonization. The year 2004 also marked the 20th anniversary of the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, known as the "Moon Agreement", which called for freedom of scientific exploration and the use of the moon for the benefit of all people.

Peacekeeping is central in the maintenance of international peace and security, but the question that must be asked was whether all were doing their best to make these efforts succeed. It is widely acknowledged that most of the developing countries, while willing to contribute, lack the capacity; the developed world, while having the capacity, lack the will. The time has come to bridge the gap through partnerships and to consider arrangements between the United Nations, troop-contributing countries and donor States. UN peacekeeping forces have a major role to play, and as their operations become more complex, further coordination and contribution are required on the part of all countries and NGOs.

SECRETARY-GENERAL's MESSAGE ON WORLD HEALTH DAY - 7 April 2007: The theme of this year's World Health Day -- international health security -- reminds us that threats to public health know no borders. The spread of diseases, natural disasters, environmental change, bioterrorism or chemical spills can all have a major impact on people, their societies and economies around the world. Such threats present new challenges and require an urgent and collaborative response. Health, development and global security are inextricably linked. Investment in health is a cornerstone of economic growth and development, and a prerequisite for meeting many of the Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, the security of all countries is today increasingly dependent on the capacity of each to act effectively, and collectively, to minimize health threats. The revised International Health Regulations, which will come into force in June this year, represent a milestone in the world's efforts to build and reinforce effective mechanisms for disease outbreak alert and response at the national and international levels. It is essential for all of us that every country implements fully these regulations. Life and health are our most precious possessions. We have the knowledge and unprecedented resources to build a healthier, safer world. Let us take the occasion of World Health Day to mobilize the political will. Let us ensure that each country -- rich and poor -- has a robust health system capable of serving all those in need. Addressing our collective vulnerability demands nothing less.

Collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO):

World Health Report 2005: Make Every Mother and Child Count - it comes at a time when only a decade is left to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which set internationally agreed development aspirations for the world's population to be met by 2015. These goals have underlined the importance of improving health, and particularly the health of mothers and children, as an integral part of poverty reduction. The health of mothers and children is a priority that emerged long before the 1990s - it builds on a century of programs, activities and experience. What is new in the last decade, however, is the global focus of the MDGs and their insistence on tracking progress in every part of the world. Moreover, the nature of the priority status of maternal and child health (MCH) has changed over time. Whereas mothers and children were previously thought of as targets for well-intentioned programs, they now increasingly claim the right to access quality care as an entitlement guaranteed by the state. In doing so, they have transformed maternal and child health from a technical concern into a moral and political imperative. This report identifies exclusion as a key feature of inequity as well as a key constraint to progress. In many countries, universal access to the care all women and children are entitled to is still far from realization.

Taking stock of the erratic progress to date, the report sets out the strategies required for the accelerated improvements that are known to be possible. It is necessary to refocus the technical strategies developed within maternal and child health programs, and also to put more emphasis on the importance of the often overlooked health problems of newborns. In this regard, the report advocates the repositioning of MCH as MNCH (maternal, newborn and child health).The proper technical strategies to improve MNCH can be put in place effectively only if they are implemented, across programs and service providers, throughout pregnancy and childbirth through to childhood. It makes no sense to provide care for a child and ignore the mother, or to worry about a mother giving birth and fail to pay attention to the health of the baby. To provide families universal access to such a continuum of care requires programs to work together, but is ultimately dependent on extending and strengthening health systems. At the same time, placing MNCH at the core of the drive for universal access provides a platform for building sustainable health systems where existing structures are weak or fragile. Even where the MDGs will not be fully achieved by 2015, moving towards universal access has the potential to transform the lives of millions for decades to come.

World Bank Institute (WBI) - Global Development Learning Network:

Initiated by the World Bank in June 2000, the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) is a global partnership of more than 100 learning centers (GDLN Affiliates that offer the use of advanced information and communication technologies to people working in development around the world. Through videoconferencing, high-speed internet resources, and interactive facilitation and learning techniques, GDLN Affiliates enable their clients to hold coordination, consultation, and training events in a timely and cost-effective manner. GDLN clients include academic institutions offering distance learning courses on development issues; development agencies seeking dialogue with key partners across the globe; government agencies discussing policy with counterparts in other countries; and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) coordinating with their partners worldwide. The Network's "anchor unit", GDLN Services, is housed in World Bank Institute (WBI), and consists of GDLN Secretariat and GDLN Activity Services team. GDLN coordination teams in the Bank's regional departments work with Affiliates and partners in their respective regions. Furthermore, the Bank provides the Network's technology backbone through its global communication group. The Bank is also an important client of the Network; WBI alone has offered more than 600 courses, seminars, and dialogues through GDLN. For more information, visit http://www.gdln.org

Collaboration with UN University (UNU):

"E-Learning for a sustainable future" - The vision of Global Virtual University (GVU) is to contribute to a sustainable future with a main focus on the developing countries making use of the latest e-learning pedagogy and technology. The mission of GVU is to increase people's sensitivity to, and involvement in, finding solutions for environment and development issues. This shall be accomplished by mobilizing a network of universities in developed and developing countries to participate in developing online educational programs in global environmental and development studies and to provide support to these universities. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States. The UNU-GVU Consortium in Education for Sustainable Development partners cooperate in the development and implementation of online study programs, short courses and modules and modules that are designed to serve the needs and enhance the capacities of academic institutions in developing countries in the field of education for sustainable development. Partners are expected to share expertise on pedagogical approaches, content and instructional design methodologies, course implementation, quality assurance, and course evaluation.

Point of View:

Digital Health Libraries - Moving Forward

The Internet was a somewhat different place 10 years ago than it is today. Broadband-access was not as widely available, nor was the computer that could easily handle the amount of information now transferred every minute. While informational resources did exist, the Internet, or the piece still then commonly referred to as the Web, was mostly dominated by companies seeking another form of advertising and/or revenue and handfuls of individuals that stayed on the forefront of the ever-changing technology with an eye towards bigger and better things. Today the greater speed and interactivity of today's internet has given rise to many more educational resources than previously existed, delivering academic journals and research covering an infinite amount of subjects on demand.

The concept of WomensHealthSection.com - A Peer Reviewed Journal in Women's Healthcare was an ambitious one - creating essentially an online textbook that would comprehensively cover the issues affecting the health of women worldwide, both medical and sociopolitical. Womenshealthsection.com is still unique in its vision, but it is also unique in its scope and for providing a very high level of information to the international community without either charging an expensive subscription fee or being affiliated with a university. We have created a comprehensive, detailed medical resource available to those who would immediately benefit from the articles it contains: medical professionals throughout the developed and the developing world concerned about women's health. In the four plus years since we at eclecTechs began working with Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC) in the design, execution and maintenance of WomensHealthSection.com, the site has grown from the then extremely impressive twenty-five or so detailed, informative articles to a staggering 250+, and is now available in six different languages, reflecting the international scope of the project. As the connectivity of the world evolves, this will remain an important resource, providing a readily available digital health library to the professionals who need it.

By Barbara Meehan and Andee R. Browne
35 State Street, Northampton, MA 01060 (USA)

Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS):

Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS "Global Crisis - Global Action": series continues

  1. Noting with concern that some negative economic, social, cultural, political, financial and legal factors are hampering awareness, education, prevention, care, treatment and support efforts
  2. Noting the importance of establishing and strengthening human resources and national health and social infrastructures as imperative for the effective delivery of prevention, treatment, care and support services
  3. Recognizing that effective prevention, care and treatment strategies will require behavioral changes and increased availability of and non-discriminatory access to, vaccines, condoms, antibiotics, lubricants, sterile injecting equipment, drugs including anti-retroviral therapy, diagnostics and related technologies as well as increased research and development
  4. Recognizing also that the cost availability and affordability of drugs and related technology are significant factors to be reviewed and addressed in all aspects and that there is a need to reduce the cost of these drugs and technologies in close collaboration with the private sector and pharmaceutical companies
  5. Acknowledging that the lack of affordable pharmaceuticals and of feasible supply structures and health systems continue to hinder an effective response to HIV/AIDS in many countries, especially for the poorest people and recalling efforts to make drugs available at low prices for those in need
  6. Welcoming the efforts of countries to promote innovation and the development of domestic industries consistent with international law in order to increase access to medicines to protect health of their populations; and noting that the impact of international trade agreements on access to or local manufacturing of, essential drugs and on the development of new drugs needs to be further evaluated
  7. Welcoming the progress made in some countries to contain the epidemic, particularly through: strong political commitment and leadership at the highest levels, including community leadership; effective use of available resources and traditional medicines; successful prevention, care, support and treatment strategies; education and information initiatives; working in partnership with communities, civil society, people living with HIV/AIDS and vulnerable groups, and the active promotion and protection of human rights; and recognizing the importance of sharing and building on our collective and diverse experiences, through regional and international cooperation including North/South, South/South cooperation and triangular cooperation
  8. Acknowledging that resources devoted to combating the epidemic both at the national and international levels are not commensurate with the magnitude of the problem
  9. Recognizing the fundamental importance of strengthening national, regional and sub-regional capacities to address and effectively combat HIV/AIDS and that this will require increased and sustained human, financial and technical resources through strengthening national action and cooperation and increased regional, sub-regional and international cooperation
  10. Recognizing the external debt and debt-servicing problems have substantially constrained the capacity of many developing countries, as well as countries with economies in transition, to finance the fight against HIV/AIDS

To be continued...

Top Two-Articles Accessed in March 2007:

  1. Health Care Patents and The Interests of Patients
    WHEC Publication. Special thanks to Editorial Office, Bulletin of the World Health Organization for the contributions, support and friendship.
  2. Uterine Myomas: A Comprehensive Review
    Author: Dr. Edward E. Wallach, Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD (USA).

News, Invitations, and Letters:

The World Bank is a group of five institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (established in 1945); the International Finance Corporation (1956); the International Development Association (1960); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (1988); and the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (1966). The common goal of all institutions is to reduce poverty around the world by strengthening the economies of poor nations. Their aim is to improve people's living standards by promoting economic growth and development. The Bank's governing body is the Board of Governors, in which all member states are represented. General operations are delegated to as smaller group, the Board of Executive Directors, with the President of the Bank serving as Chairman of the Board. The World Bank Group has a staff of some 11,000 and an administrative annual budget of about $ 1.4 billion. Among its major publication is the annual World Development Report.

World Bank - Health & AIDS: Money counts! However, more money and even rapid economic growth are not enough to achieve desirable Health Outcomes and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Systems structure and efficiency matter, as do supporting institutions, households and communities, policies and politics. While there is long-standing recognition that health outcomes are significantly determined at the household level and are greatly affected by factors outside the health sector such as water and sanitation and transport infrastructure, policies continue mainly to focus on supply production factors within the health sector. This new program approaches health outcomes from the demand side through a multisectoral perspective, looking into mechanisms such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), and Sector Wide Approaches Projects (SWAPs). The course underscores the different roles necessary at each different sector for a multisectoral approach, the need for coordination at the central level, and also alignment of donors with national processes - especially budgets - to ensure harmonization. This course will build capacity for developing multisectoral health outcome strategies, emphasizing that better effective interventions, actions and policies exist and that adaptation to the country situation is critical. For more information about the content please contact: Isabel Rocha Pimenta, Team Leader; World Bank Institute - Health and AIDS program; 1818 H St. NW, Mail Stop # J3-302; Washington DC; Tel. 1-202-458-1429; Fax: 1-202-676-0961.

MESSAGE BY H.E. SHEIKHA HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: Violence against women and girls is widespread in all societies. The United Nations Charter affirms faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women. The right to live without fear of violence is a basic human right for all people, including women and girls. The right to seek equal justice, without discrimination, is a basic human right. We have a moral and political duty to uphold these rights. The comprehensive study on violence against women issued during the 61st Session of the General Assembly includes strong recommendations that can end the impunity of violence committed against women. We have made huge advances in setting global standards to prevent, punish and eradicate these heinous crimes. Our efforts have gone far to reverse what used to be the traditional lack of response. But progress in ending violence and impunity remains insufficient and inconsistent in all parts of the world. States have binding obligations and can be held accountable. The failure to comply with international standards or to exercise due diligence is a violation of the human rights of women.

Slavery in Twenty-First Century - The slave trade is back in full force. This modern slave trade, however, is not limited to just young Africans; women and children are also being enslaved in almost every continent. It is estimated that there are over 27 million enslaved persons worldwide, more than double the number of those who were deported in the 400-year history of the transatlantic slave trade to the Americas. What is remarkable is that this unprecedented trafficking largely goes unnoticed. The 27 million victims of the modern slave trade are more invisible to the world's eye than were the 10 million to 12 million Africans who were forcibly sent to the Americas during the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. How do we account for this fact in this age of media and communications overload and transparency?
Details: http://www.un.org:80/Pubs/chronicle/2005/issue3/0305p28.html

Special Thanks:

WHEC thanks everyone who supported our efforts to improve women's health and status at local, national and international levels.
It is indeed our privilege to share our Letters of Support Page with everyone:


We hope our efforts help to advance the causes of peace, health and development.

Beyond the numbers...

And I honor the man who is willing to sink; half his present repute for the freedom to think;
And when he has thought to be his cause strong or weak; will risk the other half for the freedom to speak.

Women's Health & Education Center
Dedicated to Women's and Children's Well-being and Health Care Worldwide