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close this bookSCN News, Number 11 - Maternal and Child Nutrition (ACC/SCN, 1994, 76 p.)
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Open this folder and view contentsMATERNAL AND CHILD NUTRITION
Open this folder and view contentsNEWS AND VIEWS
View the documentPROGRAMME NEWS
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View the documentTHE STATE OF THE WORLD’S REFUGEES, 1993



Efforts to protect and promote nutritional well-being are at the heart of virtually all of FAO activities. Underlying these efforts is the realization that the best way to achieve and sustain improvements in nutrition, especially among vulnerable population groups including women and children, is to strengthen the viability of households as social and economic units and to ensure their ability to produce, process and utilize effectively the food required by each household member. Depending on the circumstances, priority might be given to increasing the production, preservation, processing, storage and marketing of various foods, assuring their quality and safety, promoting nutrition education and consumer awareness, or given to raising incomes, and strengthening health and social measures.

Presently FAO is assisting more than 100 countries in developing their national plans of action for nutrition as called for during the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN). Each of the different themes of such plans contribute significantly to improve maternal and child nutrition, either directly (breast feeding, micronutrient deficiencies, food quality and safety), or indirectly through strengthening the viability of households in their ability to care and feed themselves.

Some specific activities include the development of the manual on “Food-Based Strategies to Prevent Micronutrient Malnutrition “, presently under preparation jointly with the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), which aims at providing to the government, institutions, policy-makers, and programme planners the information required to plan and implement food-based activities. Maternal and child nutrition are the main target groups of such activities as vitamin A, iron and iodine deficiencies have the most serious direct consequences on them.

FAO is also presently supporting several programmes which, although geared to the whole family of primarily vulnerable households and not only specifically to mothers and children, can provide useful contributions to people and institutions interested in maternal and child nutrition:

- the participatory nutrition programme, after an initial operational research phase, has led to the publication of ‘Guidelines for Participatory Nutrition Projects” (FAO, 1993), which are meant to be used by development workers operating at community and local level aiming to assist communities in determining their own food and nutrition needs and find solutions to overcome identified problems. The French and Spanish versions are expected to be available mid- to end-1994. The dissemination of this publication is also used to promote networking between institutions involved in similar approaches. An in-service training programme at local level to promote the participatory nutrition approach (promoting the design, implementation and M&E of small community projects by the community based on their own appraisal of its food and nutrition constraints) is presently being developed.

- the nutrition education programme promotes the development of multimedia communication strategies to promote household food security and improved nutrition through providing all population groups of the public, particularly women, school children and youth with appropriate knowledge and information required to entertain healthy and safe dietary practices. The “Guide modologique des interventions dans la communication sociale en nutrition” (FAO, 1993) was prepared to provide a practical methodological tool for people involved in the planning or implementation of nutrition education and communication activities. The English version is now available and the Spanish version will be available later in 1994.

Concerning food quality and safety, FAO’s policy on food control and consumer protection includes provisions for the prevention of the contamination of food through the production chain in order to avoid health risks and frauds. Technical assistance provided by FAO to developing countries in this framework paid special attention to the strengthening of country capabilities in food control and the orientation of the food handlers and the consumer on hygienic practices for food preparation. In this regard special attention has been paid during the recent pandemic of cholera to control the safety of the food supply of particular vulnerable groups such as children, in order to prevent the presentation of diarrhoeal diseases, including cholera.

Volume 4 of the Revised Codex Alimentarius containing Codex Standards for foods for infants and children and information on labelling for these products is also about to be published by FAO.

(Source and contact for further information: Director, Food Policy and Nutrition Division, FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Tel: (39 6) 52251 Fax: (39 6) 52253162)


The Health Sciences Division of IDRC is currently supporting three active projects specifically on maternal and child nutrition. The first is a collaborative project that has been on-going since 1987 between Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Sciences, Department of Clinical Nutrition, and the University of Toronto, Department of Nutritional Sciences. This project, Institution Development and Infant Nutrition Research, is aimed at collaboration in the training of Chinese nutritionists and to undertake relevant research emphasizing community and therapeutic nutrition. Currently in this project a longitudinal study is underway to assess the growth and hematologic status of infants provided with a fortified weaning food supplement to be added to the traditional rice diet along with breast milk from 4 months of age.

A second collaborative project with the Indonesian Ministry of Health and the University of Manitoba Faculty of Human Ecology is aimed to improve maternal and infant nutrition through behavioural change. Qualitative research methods will be used by community workers to identify social and cultural factors associated with nutrition behaviours, and an intervention package based on the results will be tested.

The third active project is one on Preschool Education for Better Nutrition, through Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. The aim is to develop a low-cost community-based preschool education program with special emphasis on nutrition and health care needs of children. Following assessment of the current situations of child health status, parental concerns and prospects for community involvement, the project will develop learning/training packages for preschooler and parent education and facilitator training.

(Source and contact for further information: Janice L. Johnston, PhD., Nutrition Coordinator, Health Sciences Division, IDRC, 250 Albert St., PO Box 8500, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1G 3H9. Tel: (613)2366163 Fax: (613) 567 7748)


A 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment.
An International Initiative Sponsored by IFPRI

“A 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment,” is an international initiative of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to develop and share information on how to meet future world food needs while reducing poverty and protecting the environment. There is considerable disagreement about the magnitude of the world’s food problem and the potential for natural resource degradation over the long term. The 2020 Vision initiative will bring together divergent schools of thought to examine the assumptions, methodologies, and conclusions for their analyses and to identify problems and consider proposed solutions in order to identify those solutions that are most promising.

The focal point of the initiative will be an international conference in June 1995. Prior to and in preparation for the conference, IFPRI will sponsor, coordinate, and conduct research on the world food situation, poverty, and the environment in the world and organize technical workshops to present and discuss the results. A newsletter will inform donors, key members of the development and environmental communities, policymakers from developing countries, and collaborating scholars and institutions of the activities of the initiative and will attempt to foster debate among contributors. Discussion papers from the analyses, projections, and technical workshops will be published prior to, during, and after the conference. A program of action for meeting the world’s food needs by the year 2020 and beyond will be identified at the conference. This will reflect the input of Third World policymakers, members of the development community, and scholars. In addition, following the conference, IFPRI will hold symposia and press briefings in several developed and developing countries on the world food situation and the program of action. This initiative builds on past international efforts, including the International Conference on Nutrition and the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development. The program of action will be made available to subsequent international initiatives, including the 50th Anniversary Celebration of FAO, which is scheduled for October 1995 in Quebec, Canada.

(Source and contact for further information: Ms Rajul Pandya-Lorch, IFPRI, 1200 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington DC 20036, USA. Tel: 202 862 5600 Fax: 202 467 4439)


International Iron Nutrition Project

The following list summarizes progress on projects aimed at testing in different age-sex-physiological status groups in various settings, the biological effectiveness, safety and field feasibility of intermittent iron supplementation schemes.

Preschool children - five projects: one in Indonesia (at advanced planning stage); two in China (one in progress, one completed); one in India (at planning stage); and one in Guatemala (at advance planning stage).

Infants - one project in Chile (at advanced planning stage)

Schoolgirls - three projects: one in India (at advanced planning stage); one in Malaysia (on-going); and one in Guatemala (at advanced planning stage)

Schoolchildren (boys and girls) - one project in India (at advanced planning stage)

Female university students - one in USA (at advanced planning stage)

Fertile age females - one in Kazakhstan (at planning stage)

Pregnant women - nine projects: one in China (on-going); one in Malaysia (at planning stage); one in Thailand (at advanced planning stage); on in the Philippines (at advanced planning stage); one in Ethiopia; one in Tanzania; two in Guatemala (one on-going, one at advanced planning stage); and one in Jamaica (at planning stage).

(Source and contact for further information: Fernando E Viteri, Coordinator IINP/UNU, Professor, Dept. of Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3104, USA. Phone: (510) 562 5340 Fax: (510) 642 0535 Email: VITERI@NATURE.BERKELEY.EDU)


Women’s and Infants’ Nutrition: A Family Focus (WIN)

This comprehensive project works to improve the nutritional status of women and children worldwide through field support, research, training programs and access to information. Technical assistance is provided for integrating nutrition services into ongoing primary health care programs, establishing lactation management education programs, and developing nutrition and health information management systems. Research is implemented with the purpose of developing innovative interventions to improve girls’ nutrition.

A. Training/Lactation Management

Cooperating Agency: Wellstart/SanDiego Lactation Management

Wellstart implements a program of lactation management education for teams of nutrition and health professionals in teaching hospitals and government agencies. In addition to promoting hospital practices that support breastfeeding, participants serve as in-country trainers and lactation specialists and design lactation education programs in their own countries. Wellstart is designed to improve the initiation rates and duration of breastfeeding.

The objectives of the project are to: train multi-disciplinary teams of perinatal health care professionals as specialists in lactation management; assist teams in developing model service and teaching programs appropriate to their own setting; assist in designing in-service and continuing education activities regarding lactation and breastfeeding; and develop sustainable, in-country capability for lactation management education, service and research.

Since its onset, the Wellstart Lactation Management Education Program (LME) has trained 472 associates in 43 countries. Courses are now offered in English, Spanish, Russian and French. National breastfeeding promotion programs are ongoing in 9 countries, and 8 national and 3 regional resource and training centers have been established.

For further information contact: Wellstart/San Diego Lactation Management Education Program, PO Box 87549, San Diego, CA 93138, USA. Tel: 619 295 5192 Fax: 619 294 7787.

B. Research/Adolescent Girls

Cooperating Agency: International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

The ICRW manages the Adolescent Girls Nutrition Research Program, focusing its research on lifestyle, biological, cultural and psychological factors that affect nutritional status. The research examines factors that contribute to the success or failure of programs to reach adolescent girls and their role within the household and the community.

Objectives of the project are to: develop a research agenda and protocol for addressing adolescent girls’ nutritional needs; commission innovative research that will support policy decisions and lead to interventions that improve women’s nutrition and health status; and synthesize major research findings for policy and program managers.

Eleven studies are being conducted in 9 countries that explore the effect of specific factors on nutritional status during adolescence.

For example in Jamaica, investigators are measuring the nutrition and health status of urban Jamaican girls to identify risk factors and attempt to predict how nutritional status during adolescence influences subsequent school attendance and performance. And in The Philippines, investigators are examining gender-differentiated household resource allocation decisions. Specifically, parents’ decisions with respect to food intake, use of health care or school attendance are compared by the gender of the adolescent.

For further information contact: International Center For Research on Women (ICRW), 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036, USA. Tel: 202 797 0007 Fax: 202 797 0020.

C. Field Support - Women and Children Nutrition

Cooperating Agency: Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)

The Women and Infant Nutrition Support (WINS) component assists developing countries in their efforts to improve infant feeding practices and reduce malnutrition in women and young children. The WINS project addresses the entire continuum or nutritional needs from birth through three years of age (i.e., the period of exclusive breastfeeding and the complete transition to the family diet). WINS also concentrates on meeting the nutritional needs of women before and during pregnancy and lactation, and supporting women and families to meet the nutritional needs of their children.

Objectives are to: provide technical assistance related to the nutrition of women and children in the areas of policy analysis, infant feeding sector assessments, weaning food production, growth monitoring, program monitoring and evaluation; implement strategies to integrate women and children’s nutrition activities into on-going maternal, child health and primary health care programs; and develop collaborative inquiries, with host-country investigators, designed to improve knowledge of nutrition problems facing women and children in developing countries.

For example, in Bolivia, WINS is assisting with a study of the consequences of the Food for Work Program on income, food security and nutrition. The results are being used to improve the food security effect of the program. In Uganda, WINS is providing support for the implementation of the National Child Nutrition/Growth Promotion Action Plan in two districts that have the highest rates of chronic malnutrition. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Ugandan MOH to support district level planning, implementation and evaluation of maternal nutrition and child nutrition activities. It also builds the capacities of communities to assess and analyze nutrition problems and develops sustainable and effective strategies to address these problems.

For further information contact: Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), 1250 24th Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20037, USA. Tel: 202 466 0540 Fax: 202 223 4059.

D. Information Dissemination

Cooperating Agency: American Public Health Association (APHA)

The APHA Clearinghouse on Infant Feeding and Maternal Nutrition serves as an international center for field-oriented nutrition information. The goal of the Clearinghouse is to make such information more accessible to health practitioners and policymakers. Technical reports and literature searches are provided upon request.

The objectives of this component are to: maintain an international center for information and materials on maternal and child nutrition and related issues in developing countries; provide technical assistance to field based groups on the design and management of documentation centers, publications production and computer applications to information management; and establish a network of national and regional nutrition and health-related libraries to promote increased access to locally published and unpublished information.

Activities include the production of Mothers and Children, a newsletter on women and children’s nutrition and health published three times a year; the maintenance of a database with over 20,000 documents on organizations, educational materials and publications, and the organization of Information Action Workshops - an activity which promotes the strengthening of local capability to produce and use information.

For further information contact: APHA Clearinghouse, 1015 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005. Tel: 202 789 5600 Fax: 202 789 5661.

The USAID manager of the WIN project is Susan Anthony, Office of Nutrition, Bureau for Research and Development, US Agency for International Development, Washington D.C. 20523-1808, USA. Tel: 703 875 4035 Fax: 703 875 7483.

(Source: USAID/Washington Office of Nutrition. “Current Project Descriptions”, February 1994)


WFP Assistance to Mothers and Children

As of April 1994, the World Food Programme assistance to mothers and children amounted to some 25 projects in the Horn of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Southern Africa and West Africa.

Examples of two WFP assisted projects in the category “assistance to vulnerable groups” are given below.

Republic of Yemen - Assistance to Mother and Child Health Care (MCH) Centres

The long-term objective of this project is to support the Government’s efforts to expand and improve primary health care services, with emphasis on mother and child health care services, and thereby contribute to the improvement of the health and nutritional status of the target groups. Food aid provides an incentive for expectant and nursing mothers and for pre-school children in the southern part of the country to regularly attend mother and child health care (MCH) centres. Services offered at the centres include family planning and nutrition education.

Zambia - Safety Net for Vulnerable Groups Under Structural Reform

Within the context of a structural adjustment programme, the project aims to provide the most vulnerable groups in the peri-urban and rural areas with a “safety net” through temporary employment and increased availability of food during the most critical period of macro-economic reform. It forms part of a government social action programme under the World Bank social dimensions of adjustment (SDA) initiative and is integrated with other donor support within the primary health care and food security programmes. The project has three major components. Firstly, the food-for-work component involves the creation of temporary employment for an average of 6,000 individuals a year, mostly women. Second, the health component assists: (1) the rehabilitation of an average of 1,566 severely malnourished children a day at hospitals/health centres with beds, attended by 1,566 accompanying mothers; (2) an average of 31,240 moderately malnourished children attending outpatient MCH services in hospitals/health centres or outreach mobile clinics or community-based growth monitoring centres; and (3) an average of 700 home-based care out-patients a day receiving counseling and food security. And third, the micro-projects component assists an average of 500 trainees enrolled in various NGO training programmes.

Some 90 and 50 percent of the project beneficiaries will be women under the food-for-work and health components respectively. The project is expected to provide them with: (1) temporary employment, thus improving household food security for their families during the critical period of excessive increase in food prices; (2) better access to primary health care facilities, such as growth monitoring and nutrition education, thus helping them to improve their health status; and (3) training in income-generating activities, helping them to become self-sufficient and to better care for their families.

(Source and contact for further information: Judit Katona-Apte, Senior Programme Adviser, Project Design and Programming Service, World Food Programme, 426 Via Cristoforo Colombo, 00145 Rome, Italy. Phone: (00 39 6) 522821 Fax: (00 396)5127400/5133537)


New WFP/UNHCR Memorandum of Understanding

A new Memorandum of Understanding between the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the “Joint Working Arrangements for Refugee, Returnee and Internally Displaced Persons Feeding Operations” has been agreed upon, and was made effective as of 1 January 1994. The Memorandum of Understanding is an updating of a WFP/UNHCR agreement signed in December 1991, and is designed to serve as an operational working manual for both WFP and UNHCR Headquarters and Country office staff. According to Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of WFP, and Sadako Ogata, High Commissioner of UNHCR the new Memorandum of Understanding “reflects the experience and will to further strengthen cooperation between the two organizations on the basis of experience gained over the last two years”. The following paragraphs explaining the background and objectives of WFP/UNHCR cooperation in this area are extracted from the Memorandum of Understanding.

Originating with the 1985 Memorandum of Understanding, WFP and UNHCR have established, over the years, a very close partnership within the United Nations system. This is particularly evidenced by the implementation of the “Revised Working Arrangements” since 1 January 1992. In phase I of these arrangements, WFP assumed responsibility for mobilizing the totality of basic food commodities, sugar and blended foods, as well as accompanying cash resources, for the external transport and internal transport, storage and handling (ITSH) costs (100 per cent) in all jointly assessed refugee and returnee feeding operations where the caseload exceeds 1,000 beneficiaries. Furthermore, and as prescribed under the second phase of this collaboration, in effect since 1 January 1993, WFP also progressively assumed responsibility for the internal transport of all basic food, sugar and blended foods to the extended delivery points (EDPs) within the recipient countries.

In order to conduct a comprehensive review of the implementation of the two Phases of this previous agreement, the Executive Director of WFP and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reconstituted a joint WFP/UNHCR Task Force which examined the results achieved to date, identified problem areas and bottlenecks, and proposed concrete improvements for the future implementation of the WFP/UNHCR Working Arrangements.

Following joint consultations and two donor briefing meetings during the months of October/November 1993, the Executive Director and the High Commissioner have decided to issue a revised Memorandum of Understanding effective 1 January 1994.

The revised Memorandum of Understanding is intended to improve the emergency response capacity of both organizations by further clarifying the division of programming and operational responsibilities in all jointly assessed refugee, returnee and, more selectively, internally displaced population (IDP) situations, thereby avoiding unnecessary duplication and maximizing the respective strengths and comparative advantages of UNHCR and WFP. Additional qualitative measures have been introduced in all phases of the feeding operations in order to make the Memorandum of Understanding more operational, based on clear division of responsibilities and clearly outlining the accountability of both agencies.

Whether referring to a sudden refugee emergency situation or a longer-term returnee repatriation programme, the overall goal of WFP and UNHCR cooperation is the provision of immediate food assistance, the maintenance of adequate nutritional status, and the promotion of eventual socio-economic self-reliance among the identified refugee/returnee and IDP beneficiaries, particularly the most seriously affected vulnerable groups, i.e. women and children.

In order to achieve these common goals in jointly implementing refugee/returnee and, selectively, IDP feeding operations, the two organizations must institute the necessary operational management capacity to ensure the timely delivery of the “right amount of food, to the right number of beneficiaries, at the right place, at the right time”. However, the extent of the WFP/UNHCR joint emergency response capacity in rapidly delivering adequate food consignments on a timely basis to recipient countries is, in large part, dependent upon the institution by the donor community of flexible and truly multilateral resource allocations in order to fund the joint working arrangements. More effective cash resource mobilization mechanisms are consequently required to generate up-front and untied cash-in-lieu of commodities to fund local, regional and international food purchases in a timely and cost effective manner, in order to effectively respond to new refugee and returnee situations.

More particularly, pending a durable solution for refugees and a level of reintegration in the country of origin of returnees and IDPs, by which they are able to take care of themselves, the WFP/UNHCR objectives are:

to actively promote self-reliance among the beneficiaries through implementation of appropriate programmes (including income-generating training programmes and other productive development activities) to assist with their own food production or self employment which will thereby facilitate a reduction of the food basket and ration;

to maintain (or restore, where necessary) adequate health and nutritional status among the identified beneficiaries through the provision of a food basket which is:

adequate (taking into account milling losses, payment in kind for milling and the level of self-sufficiency) and supplied regularly and on time;

nutritionally balanced, diversified, culturally acceptable and fit for human consumption;

easily digestible for children and other affected vulnerable groups;

requiring a low fuel consumption for cooking and conforming to food and sanitary regulations/standards of the country where it is supplied.

For further information contact: Executive Director, World Food Programme, Via Cristoforo Colombo, 426, I-00145, Rome, Italy. Tel: 39 6 57971 Fax: 39 6 512 7400 or United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, PO Box 2500, 1211 Geneva 2 Depot, Switzerland. Tel: (022) 739 8502 Fax: (022) 731 9546.

(Source: WFP/UNHCR Memorandum of Understanding on the Joint Working Arrangements for Refugee, Returnee and Internally Displaced Persons Feeding Operations, January 1994)

World Bank

Adjusting Nutrition Policies

Particular attention to nutrition policy and reform is part of an innovative recently approved economic and Social Adjustment Credit for Zambia that may become something of a prototype. Development of nutrition policy, regulatory changes for micronutrient programs (among them, for instance, salt iodization), and efforts to develop and adopt a National Nutrition Strategy are included. Zambia is also moving to convert its successful mechanism for drought relief (1992/93) toward broader development-oriented nutrition improvement and delivery of services related to its social safety net. The attempted transformation is, in some ways, comparable to emergency relief efforts in Zimbabwe, in the early 1980s, which were transformed into one of Africa’s most successful nutrition programs.

Project to Iodize Salt in China

Negotiations in a Bank-assisted project for China are being delayed - from May to June/July - to accommodate a roughly $70 million component to iodize that half of the salt in China that currently is now not iodized. With this, total national coverage is anticipated in three years. The largest micronutrient effort by the Bank to date, this iodine component is part of a $135 million comprehensive Maternal and Child Health (MCH) project loan for the poorest counties in eight of the poorest provinces in China. Vitamin A, Iron, and Nutrition Education are also included in the MCH package.

Alleviating Micronutrient Deficiency in India

There are more women in India with lethargy and apathy, among other conditions brought on by iron-deficiency anaemia, than in any other country in the world. Iron and other key micronutrient deficiencies will be addressed in a newly project for India. Although micronutrients receive attention in a number of other country projects (the largest being the new China project, above), the India operation will be the Bank’s first nutrition project devoted solely to micronutrients.

Basic Health and Nutrition Project for Peru

The recently approved $34 million Basic Health and Nutrition Project loan for Peru addresses a problem of child malnutrition that hasn’t declined significantly over the past two decades. To expand rapidly and capitalize on the strengths of programs already in place, the project will provide training, growth monitoring equipment, micronutrient supplements and deworming medication to NGOs working in project areas, as well as strengthen the capacity of government health workers. The behavioural change component is accorded central importance and significant financing in the project, at 42 percent of total project costs, with breastfeeding promotion and weaning practices key aspects.

Other Projects

Declining nutrition is a priority condition targeted for intervention in the Nicaragua Health Sector Reform Project, also approved recently. Nutrition programs including education, breastfeeding promotion and young child feeding will be integrated with growth monitoring during health check-ups. Provision of micronutrient supplements for both women and children and deworming of children will also be offered as routine primary care. Other projects approved since January are the Guinea Health and Nutrition Sector Project and the Burkina Faso Health and Nutrition Project.

(Contact for further information: Leslie Elder, Population, Health and Nutrition Department, The World Bank, 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., USA. Tel: (202) 473 3782 Fax: (202) 522 3234)

(Source: World Bank Office Memorandum “New & Noteworthy in Nutrition” No. 26, April 25, 1994)

PHNLINK - Linking Population, Health and Nutrition Specialists Through Electronic Networking.

PHNLINK is a system using electronic networks with the aim of linking population, health and nutrition specialists around the world. It was conceived by the Department of Population, Health, Nutrition, World Bank, to improve communication with colleagues in the Population, Health and Nutrition sector especially in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, as well as to develop an efficient information sharing mechanism to enhance the quality of our work. PHNLINK is operated through the Internet, an electronic communication medium connecting various network groups that enables the users to send mail, transfer files, conduct document and data research electronically, and participate in discussion groups.

PHNLINK offers two electronic services at no charge: PHNFLASH and QCARE


PHNFLASH is a weekly electronic newsletter and archiving service on main population, health, and nutrition (PHN) issues. Currently, it is distributed through electronic mail to approximately 600 subscribers around the world. In some cases, the newsletters are dispatched to one address in a country for internal distribution in order to reduce the transmission costs the subscribers have to bear. Subscription for PHNFLASH is handled by a tool called “LISTSERV” which processes subscription requests and archives back issues of the newsletters as well as working papers for storage and retrieval.

PHNFLASH is a tool to announce the activities of external agencies on breakthrough technology in the PHN area, project updates, seminars and training, job announcements, grant information, and other PHN-related electronic services that may be of use to subscribers. Some of the documents offered through PHNFLASH archive include Health Policy, Population Network News, Human Resources Dissemination Notes and Working Papers, and World Bank project information documents. We are also working with the Clearinghouse of the American Public Health Association, the Opportunities for Micronutrient Intervention Group, and the Programme Against Micronutrient Malnutrition, to develop a network for information sharing.


QCARE (Quality Care)is a discussion group on quality assurance in health related to development work. As in the case of PHNFLASH, QCARE is operated through “LISTSERV” which maintains and updates the list of participants of the discussion group and archives all posted messages. QCARE is a forum to discuss the scope and definition of “quality”; approaches to measuring and improving quality; and use of quality improvement actions in the health sector. QCARE is a moderated group, which means that messages are screened by a discussion facilitator before posted to the group in order to ensure the quality of the discussion. In the future, QCARE will offer an archive service on literature related to quality issues.


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In the text body, type: subscribe PHNFLASH Your First Name Your Last Name, or type, QCARE Your First Name Your Last Name

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Source and contact for further information: Sara Kim, PHNLINK Administrator, Population, Health & Nutrition Department, The World Bank, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20433, USA. Tel: (202)473 3429 Fax: (202) 477-0643 INTERNET: SKIM4@WORLDBANK.ORG.