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The Alma Ata Declaration Of 1978

1364 words - 5 pages

The Declaration of Alma-Ata formally adopted Primary Health Care (PHC) as the means for providing a comprehensive, universal, equitable and affordable healthcare service for all countries. It was unanimously adopted by all WHO member countries at Alma-Ata in the former Soviet Republic in September 1978. This declaration however failed to reach its goal of "Health for All by the year 2000". It has especially failed the women of Sub-Saharan Africa. Every year millions of women and female children are subjected to the inhumane practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), are at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and face the traditional inequality practices of Sub-Saharan Africa. The provision of PHC by governments in the sub-Saharan region have failed these women by not adequately providing education and funding to counter balance the social, economic and cultural beliefs of the people. Improving women's health requires strong and sustained government commitments, favourable policy environments and well targeted resources. The support of the global community is needed to sustain the fight against such practices as FGM, exposure to HIV/AIDS virus and preventing preventable diseases.Firstly, the women of the Sub-Saharan Africa region experience disproportionate poverty, low social status and a reproductive role that exposes them to health risks and preventable deaths. At least 90% of women in Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Mali, Sierra Leone and Somalia have undergone FGM operations (Tinker, Finn & Epp, 2000: P27). FGM is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural and/or non therapeutic reasons. The procedure is rarely carried out by anyone with health care training and often results in haemorrhage, tetanus and infection. Long term consequences include scarring, urinary tract infections (UTI's), urinary incontinence and painful intercourse (Tinker, Finn & Epp, 2000: P28). The leading reasons for these practices are that they are necessary as a religious requirement, initiation into their group, cleanliness and health, guarantee virginity, family honour, moral standards and marriage goals (El Dareer 1993 cited in Kopelman 2005: p239). Most of the people practising this ritual are of the Muslim faith though this practise is not required by the Koran (Sala and Duilio, 2001: p1).Most western countries condemn the practice of FGM as a violation of human rights and dignity. At the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994 and 1995 one third of the 28 African countries where FGM is practised legally banned it (Tinker, Finn & Epp, 2000: P28).Between 1978 and the year 2000 over forty million females would have experienced FGM, had the governments of Africa who were signatories to Alma Ata declaration provided adequate PHC through funding and educational programs that educated about the dangers of FGM to women and female children should lead to the...

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