Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)

WHEC Update - February 2008

A Newsletter of worldwide activity of Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)
February 2008; Vol. 3, No. 2

Poverty and illiteracy will always remain one of the root causes for women and children to be lured into prostitution. To be able to read, write and calculate has been acknowledged as a human right. Gender equality, including in education, is a condition for development. This issue inaugurates our new thrust with a special section on education. Our premise is that there is no right "time" or "age" for education. It begins before school, continues beyond retirement and comprehends the many stages in between. In a word -- education for life. We are privileged to have articles by experts dealing with various aspects of women's health, healthcare and health economics in WomensHealthSection.com running the wide gamut from universities as agents for social and economic progress to basic literacy as a window to other cultures. We will re-sharpen its focus as a journal for such exchange of ideas that keeps pace with current thought, study and debate. We encourage readers, teachers, and other educators to view WomensHealthSection.com as a resource for information and debate, learning and ideas ... and to share with us their experiences, and their expectations of us. In that light, we encourage everyone to take a few minutes to think -- why is this important? Colleges and universities in many countries, particularly in the United States are not offering adequate courses in international relations that reflect current global affairs, nor are they meeting student demands for a curriculum that is more relevant to today's question. Obstacles should be removed, and new research and writing that cross boundaries and bring together information in a way that can speak to today's readers and students must be supported and encouraged.

A major lesson of the past decade is that implementation of internationally agreed goals requires a sound plan of action, a committed core team of thoughtful and practical leaders, who are able to advance implementation even when circumstances evolve and political attention is diverted, and a concerted coordination among a large number of involved institutions, stakeholders and Governments. The year 2008 can and should be a time of great progress in sustainable development. Leadership is key and may have to be cultivated at the university and college president and provost levels. It is not and either/or strategy; there can be multiple strategies. International health is a way of dealing with international problems; whether it is spread of SARS, HIV/AIDS, how technology should be used to serve our patients and communities better, human rights and access to affordable healthcare -- the list is endless, should be used to facilitate development. To meet this challenge, those who see the need for change must press forward. We need to train more healthcare professionals who can teach across disciplines and have a broad knowledge of international organizations. Writing is a way of listening to the world. Read on! ...and write...

International Health and Development
Rita Luthra, MD

Your Questions, Our Reply:

Should national governments open up hospital services and health insurance to foreign investors and healthcare providers? Should health tourism, that is patient traveling abroad to receive medical care, be promoted as an export industry?

Trade Policy and Health: The links between trade agreements and health have been the subject of intense international debate in policy and academic circles in recent years. The debate about trade and health also reflects worries about the impact of international trade on health systems. The active promotion of health tourism can exacerbate the shortage of physicians in rural areas because of internal brain drain. In several countries, a national inter-ministerial committee plays this role, fostering coherence across the large number of issues that are affected by trade policy: procurement, environmental policies, public services and so on. Some countries prefer a special mechanism devoted to trade and health coordination. Trade and health officials need detailed information to be able to make informed choices about how to balance divergent interests and views. International organizations such as the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization have an important role to play in developing the evidence relevant to trade and health policy and making it accessible to policy-makers.

The Ministry of Health in Thailand and India have been monitoring the impact of health tourism and found that the increased demand for doctors and nurses to care for foreign patients has led to an internal brain drain from the rural public sector to the urban private sector. Thanks to this monitoring capacity, the ministry of health could adopt a policy for scaling-up the training of doctors and nurses under a special curriculum to facilitate rural distribution. Many low-income countries may not have the resources to create a distinct unit or committee to deal with trade and health, and regional collaboration may be the best way to ensure internal coherence.

We suggest; bringing a wide range of governmental and non-governmental actors into the policy process is critical to ensuring policy coherence. This is an effective way to ensure that divergent views and interests are included in an explicit and transparent manner in the balancing act of policy-making.

Year 2007 in Review:

The Women's Health and Education Center's Report 2007: We certainly ended 2007 with a bang!!! This analysis focuses on our e-learning project / program -- WomensHealthSection.com. It brings together a wealth of information and application of technical expertise. This year's edition of WHEC's flagship publication examines the health and status of women around the world. Millions of girls and women continue to live in poverty, disempowered and discriminated against. We aim to facilitate the creation of policies and concrete plans on the issue of women, peace and security through the provision of good practices and specific recommendations. Join us to improve maternal and child health worldwide. WomensHealthSection.com served 4.5 million readers in 198 countries / territories with an average of 15,000 to 20,000 visitors a day in 2007 with links to about 30,000 websites every month. On average 42,000 files, 2,500 URLs and 3,600 pages were accessed every month. WomensHealthSection.com expanded from 5 sections to 15 sections in 2007 and we hope to continue to grow. In the spirit of growth in this digital age, WomensHealthSection.com was redesigned in 2007. We have rearranged content so it is easier for you to find what you need. We welcome your feedback and hope you find the Web site to be useful -- a continuing mission.

Top 10 Countries out of 198 Countries/Territories: USA; Mexico; Canada; France; China; Saudi Arabia; Russian Federation; Spain; U.K.; Argentina.
Top 5 Groups out of 25: US Commercial; US Educational; Nonprofit organizations; US Government; International (Int).

Top 5 User Agents out of 254: Microsoft (MSIE 6.0 and 7.0); Google (Googlebot/2.1 and /imgres); Yahoo (Yahoo! Slurp and Yahoo! Slurp China); MSN (msnbot-media); Ask.com (Ask Jeeves/Tecoma).

Top 5 most popular sections out of 15: Obstetrics; Gynecologic Oncology; Violence against Women; Healthcare Policies and Women's Health; Obstetric Fistulae.

Top 5 most read articles out of 150: 1) Syphilis in Pregnancy: Prevention of Congenital Syphilis; 2) Sonographic Screening for Down Syndrome; 3) Human Papilloma virus (HPV) Vaccines: A Reproductive Health Perspective; 4) The Obstetrical Fistula in the Developing World; 5) Poverty and Maternal Mortality.

Beneficiaries: Visitors of WomensHealthSection.com (more than 25 million readers worldwide and growing fast...)

Women's Health & Education Center (WHEC) expresses gratitude to the UN System, teaching hospitals / universities and their faculty for donating their priceless work and research to WomensHealthSection.com. Their work and dedication has helped to improve health & status of women worldwide. There are no strangers at Women's Health & Education Center (WHEC) -- only the friends you have not met. WomensHealthSection.com is serving with pride in 198 countries/territories -- their continuing support is deeply appreciated. Thank You.

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) 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

TARGET: Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to education. But education is much more than just a basic human right. It can build not only mutual understanding among cultures at the individual level but also help us achieve progress at the global level. In reality, education has the power to transform both the individual and the world for the better. Whether at its most fundamental level of teaching someone how to read and write, or in its developmental role of training scientists, engineers and teachers, education fuels the engine for global peace and progress. With over 860 million adults worldwide who cannot read or write -- one in five adults -- and more than 113 million children out of school, the United Nations has launched the Literacy Decade (2003-2012) under the theme "Literacy as Freedom". Literacy efforts have so far failed to reach the poorest and most marginalized groups, according to the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and priority attention will be given to the most disadvantaged groups, especially women and girls, ethnic and linguistic minorities, indigenous populations, migrants and refuges, disabled persons, and out-of-school children and youth. UNESCO will coordinate the international efforts to extend literacy under the Decade. The implementation of the Decade's plan of action comprises five two-year periods structured around gender, poverty, health, peace and freedom.

Sub-Saharan Africa is making progress towards universal enrollment, but has a long way to go. The United Nations Literacy Decade aims to significantly increase literacy rates, especially among women and girls and those living in places with high levels of illiteracy, such as Africa and South Asia. It provides a back drop to the implementation of the eight Millennium Development Goals, adopted by world leaders in 2000, two of which concern education: universal primary education and gender equality in education.

Collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO):

Make Every Mother and Child Count; Key Findings of The World Health Report 2005.
By Jessica Bankes Beattie

Attending to all 136 million births every year is one of the major challenges that face the world's health systems. For optimum safety, every woman needs professional, skilled care when giving birth. A woman should also be able to give birth in an appropriate environment that is close to where she lives and that respects her birthing culture. Such care can best be provided by a registered midwife or a health worker with midwifery skills in first-level facilities. This can avert many life-threatening problems that may arise during childbirth and can reduce maternal mortality to surprisingly low levels. The need for care does not stop when the birth is over; the hours, days and weeks that follow can be dangerous for both mothers and babies. The welcome emphasis in recent years on improving skilled attendance at birth should not divert attention from this critical period during which half of maternal deaths and many diseases occur.
Meet the Authors; http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2005/issue3/0305p65.html

Bulletin of the World Health Organization; Volume 86, Number 2, February 2008, 81-160 Table of contents

Collaboration with UN University (UNU):

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

Linking Globalization to Poverty

Overview: While the economic opportunities offered by globalization can be large, a question is often raised as to whether the actual distribution of gains is fair, in particular, whether the poor benefit less than proportionately from globalization and could under some circumstances be hurt by it. This Policy Brief summarizes and examines the various channels and transmission mechanisms, such as greater openness to trade and foreign investment, economic growth, effects on income distribution, technology transfer and labor migration, through which the process of globalization affects different dimensions of poverty in the developing world.

Globalization provides a strong potential for a major reduction in poverty in the developing world because it creates an environment conducive to faster economic growth and transmission of knowledge. However, structural factors and policies within the world economy and national economies have impeded the full transmission of the benefits of the various channels of globalization for poverty reduction. World income distribution continues to be very unequal and many poor countries particularly in Africa are stagnating. Moreover, there is much empirical evidence that openness contributes to more within-country inequality. China is a good example with coastal provinces as opposed to inland provinces reaping the major benefits of globalization. Progress on poverty reduction has also been uneven. Although the share of the population of developing countries living below US$1 per day declined from 40 per cent to 21 per cent between 1981 and 2001, this was mainly achieved by the substantial reduction of the poor in Asia, in particular in China. Notwithstanding the drop in relative poverty, the total number of people living under US$2 per day actually increased worldwide. In particular, poverty has increased significantly in Africa in both absolute and relative terms. The risks and costs brought about by globalization can be significant for fragile developing economies and the world's poor. The downside of globalization is most vividly epitomized at times of global financial and economic crises. The costs of the repeated crises associated with economic and financial globalization appear to have been borne overwhelmingly by the developing world, and often disproportionately so by the poor who are the most vulnerable. On the other hand, benefits from globalization in booming times are not necessarily shared widely and equally in the global community. Though any trend in poverty and income inequality observed so far cannot be exclusively or even mainly attributed to globalization without rigorous analyses, even the most optimistic estimates cannot dismiss concerns that the globalization process, as it has proceeded to date, may have had some adverse effects on poverty and income distribution. These concerns have generated a passionate debate worldwide as well as a powerful anti-globalization movement.
No. 2, 2007. Written by Machiko Nissanke and Erik Thorbecke

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

United Nations Charter:

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

Article 3
The original Members of the United Nations shall be the states which, having participated in the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco, or having previously signed the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, sign the present Charter and ratify it in accordance with Article 110.
Article 4

  1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.
  2. The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

Article 5
A Member of the United Nations against which preventive or enforcement action has been taken by the Security Council may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of membership by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. The exercise of these rights and privileges may be restored by the Security Council.
Article 6
A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

Article 7

  1. There are established as the principal organs of the United Nations:
    • a General Assembly
    • a Security Council
    • an Economic and Social Council
    • a Trusteeship Council
    • an International Court of Justice
    • and a Secretariat.
  2. Such subsidiary organs as may be found necessary may be established in accordance with the present Charter.
    Article 8
    The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs.

To be continued...

Top Two Articles Accessed in January 2008:

  1. The Pap Smear; Author: Dr. Bruce R. Dziura, New England Pathology Associates, Springfield, MA (USA).
  2. Guideline for performance of the Obstetric Ultrasound; WHEC Publications. Special thanks to World Health Organization for the contributions.

News, Invitations and Letters:

Human Security: The Commission on Human Security (CHS) defines human security as the protection of "the vital core of all human lives in ways that enhance human freedoms and fulfillment". Human security means protecting fundamental freedoms. It means protecting people from critical and pervasive threats and situations. It means using processes that build on people's strengths and aspirations. It means creating political, social, environmental, economic, military and cultural systems that, when combined, give people the building blocks for survival, livelihood and dignity. Human security is far more than the absence of violent conflict. It encompasses human rights, good governance and access to economic opportunity, education and health care. It is a concept that comprehensively addresses both "freedom from fear" and "freedom from want". To attain the goals of human security, the Commission proposes a framework based on the protection and empowerment of people.

  • Empowerment implies a bottom up approach. It aims at developing the capabilities of individuals and communities to make informed choices and to act on their own behalf.
  • Protection refers to the norms, processes and institutions required to shield people from critical and pervasive threats. It implies a "top-down" approach. States have the primary responsibility to implement such a protective structure. However, international and regional organizations, civil society and non-governmental actors, and the private sector also play a pivotal role in shielding people from menaces.

Trust Fund Overview: The United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security was established in 1999 with the express aim of promoting human security through the protection and empowerment of people and communities threatened in their livelihood, survival and dignity. Since January 2006, the UNTFHS has committed over USD 72 million to projects in over 25 countries. Neither protection nor empowerment can be dealt with in isolation as they are mutually reinforcing. For more about the concept of human security as defined by the CHS, please go to the final report of the CHS.

NGLS is pleased to share with you the January 2008 issue of "The Road to Doha", a publication jointly produced by the DESA Financing for Development Office (FFDO) and the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) in the run-up to the International Conference to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus to be held in Doha, Qatar in the second half of 2008 (A/RES/61/191 and A/RES/62/187). The aim of this monthly newsletter is to help keep relevant stakeholders informed on the latest developments and events on the road leading to the Doha Conference. This issue contains information on the recently agreed preparatory process for the Doha Review Conference as well as a 'guest editorial' by Marina Durano of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on economics for social provisioning. This piece is particularly timely as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will meet on the priority theme 'Financing for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women' at its 52nd Session next month.

Special Thanks:

WHEC thanks Herminia Roque, Editorial Assistant, UN Chronicle, Academic Initiative Section / Civil Society Service, United Nations for her priceless support and work to make this initiative a success. We all are looking forward to work with you for a long time to come. Thank you very much.

Beyond the numbers...

We live in deeds, not years;
In thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on the dial;
We should count time by heart throbs;
He most lives, _________
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.

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