Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)

WHEC Update - April 2008

A Newsletter of worldwide activity of Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)
April 2008; Vol. 3, No. 4

Anniversary Edition

We honor our past, celebrate present, and always look towards future. Inspired by the past; created for today -- Women's Health Section, brings your unique ideas to life with quality research and passion. Tells your story -- for all time. This year on 12th April 2008, Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC) celebrates its 7th anniversary. As the producer / publisher of WomensHealthSection.com -- A Peer-Reviewed Journal in Women's Healthcare, it is indeed a proud moment for all of us at WHEC. Why did we spend seven years creating an e-learning publication? The answer is simple: We Promised. Our cover-page reflects the truly unique vision. It is designed as a resource for healthcare providers and general public to offer a better understanding of reproductive health and cultural understanding. The articles are designed for all members of the interdisciplinary team: physicians, physician's-assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives, nurses, social workers, therapists and other members seeking to enhance their knowledge of women's health and appropriate care and management. WHEC Working Group wins our Oscar. It is a testament to the scope of "Women's Health Education -- A Global Community", which was designed more than two decades ago. This concept is not just innovative, our team is revolutionary, and its long reach is felt throughout the academic world. Here is to the incredible voyage ahead and the fulfillment of a life long quest! A moment to hold forever. It has been said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Well then, let us accept this challenge. This month, we again bring you our special section on: Education & Health. One discipline informs the other. You will want to read all about UN System. And, as always, be sure to check out WHEC Updates. The aim of the monthly newsletter is to help keep relevant stakeholders informed on the latest developments and events on the road to the Safe Motherhood. We share information with interested members of civil society on human health and related topics as well as promote partnerships to advance the causes of peace, health and security amongst civil society, the UN and wider international community -- A Grand Collaboration. Log on now.

In 2006, Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC) began developing scientifically based practice guidelines / Practice Bulletins. The guidelines are derived from the best available evidence of clinical efficiency and consideration of costs, with recommendations explicitly linked to the evidence. These evidence-based practice guidelines are intended to be a means of improving the quality of healthcare, decreasing its cost, and diminishing professional liability. They are prospective in nature and, therefore, directive in approach. Our writers / editors / physician's board identifies, evaluate, and synthesize evidence from the medical literature to produce practice guidelines. We invite papers on all the aspects of women's health of interest to our millions of readers worldwide. The emphasis on evidence-based medicine has taken on new and greater importance as the environment of clinical medicine grows more diverse, with increased access to more information by both physicians and patients and the changing allocation of resources. Practice guidelines are a formal synthesis of evidence, developed according to a rigorous research and review process. Each section is devoted to a particular series. As the practice of medicine evolves, so too do WHEC Practice Bulletins. Your privacy and intellectual property rights are important to us (Frequently Asked Questions). Our goal is to promote excellence in the clinical practice of obstetrics and gynecology and closely related fields. So far ... so good.

Let us design the infrastructure for -- Intelligent Internet!

A Timeless Concept
Rita Luthra, MD

Your Questions, Our Reply:

What needs to be changed and how may such change be brought about by charters, plans and partnerships for everyone's security and development?

Renewing our Thinking: Over the years, the United Nations, governments, civil society and individuals have created countless worthy plans of actions and intended solutions to world issues, increasingly placing them within binding documents and quantifiable frameworks. However experience shows that, no matter how well-intentioned, a technical or political approach to development cannot alone bring about the desire outcome. Development needs the power of individual commitment, collective or national political will, and most importantly, political action. We must continue to make clear, specific, time-bound action plans, and commit to them, but we must remember that in order for them to be realized each of us must support them with spiritual understanding, awareness and practice. Cooperation is facilitated when there is the value of solidarity based on the understanding that the world's people are but one family of many sisters and brothers, each of whom should be treated as such.

The world largely considers poverty as a condition of material poverty and sickness as physical sickness. It is time to recognize the prevalence and effects of spiritual poverty, spiritual illness and spiritual deprivation, among both the materially poor and materially rich. Health is not only a physical condition but one that also involves mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Account must be taken of mental, emotional and spiritual concerns when considering diseases. Education for a culture of values in all aspects of our behavior and relationships is thus of critical importance.

Freedom is a concept that takes many guises but surely the greatest of these is freedom of spirit and freedom from one's own shortcomings and limitations. As a world society, we must include in our education systems content and pedagogy to support development of the larger principles and values that underpin the rule of law, the democratic participation of people in affairs and decisions that concern them and the notion of governance as a form of service.

About NGO Association with the UN:

The Millennium Declaration, signed by world's leaders of 189 countries in 2000, established 2015 as the deadline for achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The majority of MDG targets has a baseline of 1990, and is set to monitor achievements over the period 1990-2015.

Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4: Reduce Child Mortality

TARGET: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate. Estimates for 2005 indicate that 10.1 million children died before their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes. Though infant and child mortality rates have declined globally, the pace of progress has been uneven across regions and countries. Accelerated improvements are needed most urgently in sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, CIS countries in Asia and in Oceania. Not surprisingly, the lack of progress in child survival has been mirrored by neglect of many basic health services in parts of the developing world. Child survival rates show slow improvement, and are worst in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent surveys show that substantial improvements are possible, though disparities were found in the countries studied. Even in countries that have made good progress (i.e., that have seen a drop of at least 15 per cent in child mortality rates between 1998 and 2004), different patterns are observed. Survival rates have improved at all ages within the five-year span, but in some countries gains were most pronounced during certain periods -- for example, in the vulnerable first month of life. Evidence from the latest surveys will be further studied to determine the key interventions necessary to reduce mortality during the various stages of a child's early life. Changes in the levels of child mortality also show wide differentials according to socio-economic status. In most countries that have made substantial reductions in child mortality in recent years, the largest changes were observed among children living in the richest 40 per cent of households, or in urban areas, or whose mothers have some education. In countries where progress is lagging or where child mortality has increased, AIDS is likely to be a major contributing factor. Malaria, too, continues to kill vast numbers of children. In other countries, war and conflict have been the leading causes of increasing child mortality in the recent past.

Vaccinations spur decline in measles and expansion of basic health services: Measles is one of the leading causes of child death among diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. Globally, deaths from measles fell by over 60 per cent between 2000 and 2005 -- a major public health success. According to the latest data available, the number of these deaths dropped from 873,000 in 1999 to 345,000 in 2005. The most striking gains were found in Africa, where measles deaths decreased by nearly 75 per cent over the same period -- from an estimated 506,000 to 126,000. These achievements are attributed to improved immunization coverage throughout the developing world, as well as immunization campaigns that supplement routine services. While coverage stagnated between 1990 and 1999, immunization has rapidly gained ground since 2000. In sub-Saharan Africa, coverage dipped to 49 per cent in 1999 and increased again to 64 per cent by the end of 2005. This was largely the result of advocacy and support provided by the international Measles Initiative -- which targeted 47 priority countries -- together with the commitment of the African governments involved. Routine measles immunization serves as a proxy indicator for access to basic health services among children under five. Accelerated activities to control measles are contributing to the development of health infrastructure that supports routine immunization and other health services. Moreover, measles vaccination campaigns have become a channel for delivering other life-saving interventions, such as mosquito nets to protect against malaria, de-worming medicine and vitamin A supplements.

Collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO):

World Health Day 2008

World Health Day, on 7 April, marks the founding of the World Health Organization and is an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. In 2008, World Health Day focuses on the need to protect health from the adverse effects of climate change. The theme "protecting health from climate change" puts health at the centre of the global dialogue about climate change. WHO selected this theme in recognition that climate change is posing ever growing threats to global public health security. Through increased collaboration, the global community will be better prepared to cope with climate-related health challenges worldwide. Examples of such collaborative actions are: strengthening surveillance and control of infectious diseases, ensuring safer use of diminishing water supplies, and coordinating health action in emergencies. Goals of World Health Day 2008: http://www.who.int/world-health-day/goals/en/index.html

Bulletin of the World Health Organization; Volume 86, Number 4, April 2008, 241-320 Table of contents

Collaboration with UN University (UNU):

UNU-WIDER (World Institute for Development Economics Research) Expert Series on Health Economics:

Can We Eradicate Hunger?

Overview: World hunger is prevalent yet receives relatively less attention compared to poverty. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have taken a step to address this with the resolution of halving the number of starving people in the world by 2015. A substantial and sustainable reduction in hunger will also greatly improve the chances of meeting the MDGs related to poverty reduction, education, child mortality, maternal health, and disease. Hunger though is not a straightforward problem of producing enough to feed the world's population; it has many cross-cutting dimensions. This study addresses a combination of economic, social, and political perspectives, drawing upon academic research of the economic factors and the experiences of international organizations and civil society.

The first millennium development goal (MDG) is to halve poverty and hunger by 2015. Hunger and malnutrition are major causes of the deprivation and suffering targeted by all of the other MDGs. Without rapid progress in reducing hunger, achieving the other MDGs related to poverty reduction, education, child mortality, maternal health, and disease will be impossible. Nearly 30 per cent of the world's population is currently suffering from one or more forms of malnutrition. Approximately 840 million people are undernourished or chronically food insecure, and as many as 2.8 million children and 300,000 women die every year because of malnutrition in developing countries. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), if each of the developing regions continues to reduce hunger at the current pace, only South America and the Caribbean will reach the MDG target of cutting the proportion of hungry people by half. None will reach the more ambitious World Food Summit goal of halving the number of hungry people. Despite the scale of human suffering brought about by malnutrition, the fight against world hunger receives less attention than the fight against poverty from bilateral and multilateral donors and lending agencies. A by-product of the lack of attention to food security is that the issue is relatively understudied compared to poverty. The UNU-WIDER research project 'Hunger and Food Security', addressed some of these gaps in the literature. It was undertaken in collaboration with the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), and with research contributions from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The project resulted in two books entitled Food Security: Indicators, Measurement, and the Impact of Trade Openness and, Food Insecurity, Vulnerability and Human Rights Failure, both edited by Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, Shabd S. Acharya and Benjamin Davis, and henceforth referred to as Food Security and Food Insecurity, respectively.

(Details of the paper can be accessed from the link of UNU-WIDER on CME Page of WomensHealthSection.com)

United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS):

NGLS works side by side with UN organizations and secretariats and representatives of global civil society to promote and facilitate constructive and effective UN-civil society engagement. As a result of the strategically important role NGLS played on the civil society interface of the series of UN World Conferences of the 1990s, NGLS has earned the trust of global civil society as an independent and neutral interlocutor and facilitator. NGLS played a vital role as a bridge and coordinator between the UN and civil society in preparation for the historic General Assembly (GA) Hearings with Civil Society and the Private Sector of June 2005 and subsequently in the series of GA Hearings that took place in 2006. Since the early nineties NGLS has managed selection processes and funding that has brought over 7,000 developing-country NGO representatives to global UN events such as World Conferences, Summits and GA Hearings, and has organized many orientation sessions for NGOs new to UN processes. NGLS occupies a truly unique niche and role in UN system-civil society relations and engagements, which has no parallel elsewhere in the global system of intergovernmental international and regional organizations. Working across the UN system and amongst global civil society provides NGLS with an unrivalled experience, information and knowledge base. This provides NGLS with the expertise of UN-civil society relations and practices that underpins the advice and guidance it provides as a neutral interlocutor to the UN system and global civil society. NGLS focuses its activities on four key areas:

  • Executing an extensive communications and information outreach program on the work of the UN system and the activities of civil society.
  • Providing strategic information and advice to the organizations of the UN system and civil society.
  • Helping to build a foundation and framework that supports the United Nations' effort to interact with civil society.
  • Supporting the efforts of civil society to constructively engage with the United Nations.

NGLS receives a grant from the UN regular budget and voluntary funding from a number of UN agencies, programs and funds. Recently NGLS has received financial support from a number of bilateral donors including Canada (CIDA), Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the UK (DFID). NGLS reports to the UN organizations that fund it and to the bilateral donors that provide funding for specific activities. NGLS's UN Sponsors: UNCTD, UN / DESA, UN / DPI, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNHCR, FAO, IFAD, ILO, WFP, UNESCO, UN-Habitat, UNDP, UNEP and WHO.

NGLS focuses on all the main issues on the UN agenda, including:

  • Sustainable development and environment;
  • Human rights;
  • Humanitarian emergencies and refugees;
  • Peace and development;
  • Least Developed Countries.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):

UNICEF was created in 1946 to help overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child's path. Its work is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child -- the most widely accepted human right treaty in the world. UNICEF believes that caring for children and protecting their rights are the cornerstones of human progress. It is engaged in every facet of child health, from birth through adolescence. It works to ensure that all children are immunized against common childhood diseases, and have children and their mothers are well nourished. It works to prevent the spread of HIV / AIDS among young people, and helps children and families affected by the disease to live with dignity. UNICEF promotes girls' education because it benefits all children. It relieves suffering during emergencies and wherever children are exposed to violence, abuse or exploitation. As part of the Global Movement for Children, UNICEF encourages young people to speak out and participate in the decisions that affect their lives. In all its work, UNICEF encourages the participation of children and young people. UNICEF is governed by an Executive Board comprising delegates from 36 countries who govern its policies, programs and finances. There are more than 7,000 UNICEF employees working in 158 countries and territories around the world. UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions; its total program expenditure in 2002 were slightly over $ 1 billion. While its strongest support comes from governments, UNICEF also receives considerable aid from the private sector, and from some 6 million individuals who give through National Committees in the industrialized world. In 1965, UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Prize. Its major publication, The State of the World's Children, is released annually. Headquarter: UNICEF House, 3 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017.

United Nations Charter:

We the Peoples of the United Nations ... United for a Better World

Article 23

The Security Council shall consist of fifteen Members of the United Nations. The Republic of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America shall be permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly shall elect ten other Members of the United Nations to be non-permanent members of the Security Council, due regard being specially paid, in the first instance to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to equitable geographical distribution.
The non-permanent members of the Security Council shall be elected for a term of two years. In the first election of the non-permanent members after the increase of the membership of the Security Council from eleven to fifteen, two of the four additional members shall be chosen for a term of one year. A retiring member shall not be eligible for immediate re-election.
Each member of the Security Council shall have one representative.
Article 24
In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf.
In discharging these duties the Security Council shall act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations. The specific powers granted to the Security Council for the discharge of these duties are laid down in Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and XII.
The Security Council shall submit annual and, when necessary, special reports to the General Assembly for its consideration.
Article 25
The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.
Article 26
In order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources, the Security Council shall be responsible for formulating, with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee referred to in Article 47, plans to be submitted to the Members of the United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments.
Article 27
Each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.
Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.
Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.
Article 28

  1. The Security Council shall be so organized as to be able to function continuously. Each member of the Security Council shall for this purpose be represented at all times at the seat of the Organization.
  2. The Security Council shall hold periodic meetings at which each of its members may, if it so desires, be represented by a member of the government or by some other specially designated representative.
  3. The Security Council may hold meetings at such places other than the seat of the Organization as in its judgment will best facilitate its work.

Article 29
The Security Council may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.
Article 30
The Security Council shall adopt its own rules of procedure, including the method of selecting its President.
Article 31
Any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council whenever the latter considers that the interests of that Member are specially affected.
Article 32
Any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council or any state which is not a Member of the United Nations, if it is a party to a dispute under consideration by the Security Council, shall be invited to participate, without vote, in the discussion relating to the dispute. The Security Council shall lay down such conditions as it deems just for the participation of a state which is not a Member of the United Nations.

To be continued...

Top Two-Articles Accessed in March 2008:

  1. Child Abuse -- A Universal Challenge;
    WHEC Publications. Special thanks to World Health Organization and UNICEF for the contributions
  2. Staging & Management of Uterine Cancer;
    WHEC Publications. Special thanks to St. Elizabeth's Medical Center for the collaboration and support in preparing the document.

News, Invitations, and Letters:


Climate change is sometimes debated as if it affected only the planet, and not the people living on it. This year's World Health Day is an opportunity to broaden this view by spotlighting the major health threats we face as a result of global warming. Climate change endangers the quality and availability of water and food, our fundamental determinants of nutrition and health. It is causing more frequent and more severe storms, heat waves, droughts and floods, while worsening the quality of our air. The result is an upsurge in human suffering caused by injury, disease, malnutrition and death. We need to give voice to this often-overlooked reality, ensuring that protecting human health is anchored at the heart of the global climate change agenda. The impact will be most severe in poor countries, which have contributed least to this global crisis. By 2020, up to a quarter of a billion Africans will experience increased water stress, and crop yields in some African countries are expected to drop by half.

Malnutrition and climate-related infectious diseases will take their heaviest toll on the most vulnerable: small children, the elderly and the infirm. Women living in poverty face particular risk when natural disasters and other global-warming related dangers strike. We must do more than decry these circumstances. We must act to ensure that the health of the vulnerable is protected during climate change. This means stepping up efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals, from cutting childhood mortality to empowering women, as a central component of the international response to climate change.

Public health has decades of experience in dealing effectively with problems that climate change will exacerbate, and we can use this as a basis for predicting -- and forestalling -- the consequences. Climate change is real, it is accelerating and it threatens all of us. We must respond with urgent action to stabilize the climate, achieve the MDGs, and encourage individual action. Our collective efforts can foster social and economic development for the world's poorest peoples, improving their health systems and their lives.

World Health Day challenges us to join forces in the great effort to combat climate change, for the sake of our planet and all of its inhabitants.

Special Thanks:

WHEC expresses gratitude to the Academic Partnership Unit / Academic Initiative Section of United Nations for the priceless support. It is indeed an honor and privilege for Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC) to improve maternal and child health worldwide with the United Nations. Thanks again for the priceless support.

Beyond the numbers...

I may not reach the heights I seek,
My untried strength may fail me,
Or, half way the mountain peak
Fierce tempest may assail me,
But though that place I never gain
Herein lies comfort for my pain
I will be worthy of it.

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