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Health & Human Development

 

 

List of Papers for Theme F:
Research on health and human development

(Click on the author's name to go to the abstract.)

Author(s) Paper
R. Auala Sustainable human development for improving quality of life in Namibia
J. C. Bigala Preschool-age investments: Programmes of early childhood development in the third world
S. Chieni The "Harambee Movement" in Kenya: the role played by Kenyans and the government in the provision of education and other social services
G. N. Dlamini &
B. Tiisekwa
Birth weight, stillbirth and maternal complications in Swaziland as related to parity and mothers age
M. Drinkwater &
N. Vreken
Communication apprehension as factor influencing the quality of life of people
T. Kirsten Assessing the level of quality of life as a determinant of mental health in South Africa
M. Ndunda Structural adjustment policies and intensification of women's work: Impact on their education and health
D. Ntseane The effects of job transfer on the quality of life of teachers in Botswana
M. Ntshalintshali Education and quality of life as part of human resource development
M. M. Sakoane &
T. Mathafeng
Literacy needs assessment survey of neo-literates in three districts of Lesotho
M. M. Shale Hospital vs. home delivery in Lesotho: a comparison of mountain and non-mountain locations
B. Tiisekwa,
A. T. Dlamini &
G. N. Shongwe
Nutrient composition and acceptability of emasi dish prepared by using selected sorghum cultivars

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Author: Prof. Rehabeam Auala, University of Namibia

Title: Sustainable human development for improving quality of life in Namibia

This paper is a synopsis of a report of a workshop which I also attended on Sustainable Human Development in Namibia which was organized by the National Planning Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Systems in Namibia from 10 - 11 August 1994.

This report provides an invaluable opportunity to review the current development plans of the Government and Non-Governmental Organizations and to assess the progress made thus far in the improvement of the quality of life of the people in Namibia. It was noted that since independence considerable progress had been made in the provision of social services and in the protection of the fragile Namibian economic-system. On the other hand, the goal of acceptable living standard for all, equal access to services and more equal distribution of wealth were still far from realized due to colonial legacy.

The workshop further agreed that there was need for Government, Non-Governmental Organization and the Private Sector to start investing more in the economic sectors in order to generate the necessary resource base for continued improvement of services in the social sectors. The workshop recommended the formal adoption of the Sustainable Human Development (SHD) as a comprehensive policy framework for development in Namibia. As a first step in this direction, it was agreed to establish a National Task Force for Sustainable Human Development charged with the responsibility of reviewing in detail the applicability of SHD in Namibia and collecting the socio-economic data required for effective launching of Namibian Sustainable Human Development Initiative. This will ensure the improvement of the quality of life in Namibia.

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Author: John C. Bigala, University of Botswana

Title: Preschool-age investments: Programmes of early childhood development in the third world.

Recent studies offer evidence to support the critical importance of early years of a child's life for its physical intellectual, emotional development and for performance in education and society later. Therefore investment in early childhood development pays off in terms of a wide range of social and economic benefits. Parents often expect these programmes to give their children a "beginning", easing the transition from the social world of the home to that of the school and the larger society. It is true that schools have "inputs" and "outputs", and that one of their nominal purposes is to take human "raw material" (i.e. children) and convert it into something more "valuable" (i.e. employable adults). Research suggests, however, that the character of a school's output depends largely on a single input, namely the characteristics of the entering children.

The thrust of this paper is that this idea articulated by (Jencks, 1972) ought to be a working hypothesis in the discussion of human capital formation in developing countries. The relevance of preschool age investment in human capital to the process of human capital formation in general and to formal schooling in particular rests heavily on the following evidence:

a) The number of children from low income families in the primary school systems will be increasing all the time.

b) There is growing empirical evidence to show that preschool age children from poorer sections of the population in developing countries do worse on most ability tests than matching controls from higher income groups.

c) There is growing literature in the medical field which attempts to show early malnutrition, a phenomenon that characterises a large fraction of children in developing countries, adversely affects mental performance as well as children's psychomotor activity.

d) The literature in the field of education and psychology suggests that although heredity explains an important fraction of children's intelligence scores (Jensen, 1964), environment is still crucial in such explanations (Jencks, 1972), particularly at early ages of life (Bloom, 1964).

If a and b are accepted, primary school systems in developing countries face an increasing deterioration of ''raw input". On the other hand, if the productivity of school inputs in the production of abilities, is largely dependent on the quality of that "raw input", the effect of schooling may be highly sensitive to current policies concerning preschool age types of investment in human capital (Botswana Report of the National Commission in Education, 1993). If c and d are accepted it may suggest that some determinants of low ability scores might be manipulated by government policies.

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Author: Miss Susan Chieni, Moi University, Kenya

Title: "The "Harambee Movement" in Kenya: the role played by Kenyans and the government in the provision of education and other social services

The future lives of most people in developing countries is determined to a large extent by the quality and quantity of formal education accessible to them. Countries of the third world are still experiencing expansion in their educational systems inspite of the many problems believed to be associated with this expansion. This has been evidenced by the "Harambee" Movement which has been growing from strength to strength.

There are various reasons as to why people invest in formal education, but none is wholly agreed upon. In a developing country such as Kenya, the motivation would be that through accomplishment of education, the recipients of this education would then get well paying jobs. This is because since the introduction of formal schooling, the recipients of this education would then get well paying jobs. This is because since the introduction of formal schooling, society has been using educational accomplishment and certification as a means of giving people jobs.

The Harambee Movement came about during colonial times as a result of Kenyans wanting their own educational system unlike the colonial one which limited education opportunity for Africans. This movement continued to thrive in the post independence days the government is quite supportive of it. The movement then expanded to other areas of need without which education cannot be a success e.g. health services, water, etc.

This paper therefore aims at the following:

The Harambee Movement - its origins.
Participation of the indigenous people in this movement.
Government participation in the Harambee movement and improvements needed.
The role that Harambee has played in improving people’s quality of life.
Problems experienced and recommended solutions.
How this concept can be applied in other developing nations for the success of providing various social services to its citizens.


NB: * Harambee is a Kiswahili word that means ‘Let us pull together’.

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Author: G. N. Dlamini & Dr. B. Tiisekwa, Department of Home Economics, University of Swaziland

Title: Birth weight, stillbirth and maternal complications in Swaziland as related to parity and mothers age

A situation analysis of the condition of mother and child at birth in Swaziland was conducted in order to determine whether there is a problem which requires an intervention for improving the quality of life. The analysis of mothers age, birth weight and prevalence of stillbirths and maternal complications in Swaziland covered a five year period (1990 - 1994). Data was collected by reviewing birth registers in the four regional hospitals of Swaziland situated in Hhohho, Manzini, Lubombo and Shiselweni regions. The data was used to establish the relationship between parity and mothers age with stillbirth, birth weight and maternal complications.

The results show that the rate of stillbirth is about 20 for every 1000 births except at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial hospital (Manzini region) where the value was higher (31 stillbirths). The stillbirth rate is 2 - 3% with high frequencies in teenage and advanced age groups The proportion of. underweight babies in Swaziland is high (rated at 10%). The average rate of maternal complications is 13% with the most common types being prolonged labour, premature delivery and caesarian section. Birth weight was found to increase with age and parity. There was no relationship between age and maternal complications. Birth weight and stillbirth indicated an increase with parity. There was no relationship between parity and maternal complications, amongst three hospitals.

The observed high values of stillbirth and under weight calls for the need to investigate the causes so us to identify interventions with the view to improve the quality of life of the mother and child.

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Authors: Mrs. Marlize Drinkwater & Prof. Nic Vreken, Potchefstroom University for CHE

Title: Communication apprehension as a factor influencing the quality of life of people

A better quality of life for all people and a sound education are inseparable. Education could refer either to informal or incidental education occurring in the child's home or to more formal education offered by institutions like the school. In both these cases communication is the most powerful tool used to educate and to teach.

Communication apprehension (CA) refers to anxiety experienced by an individual during real or anticipated communication with one person or a group of people. Research indicates that high levels of communication apprehension have a detrimental effect on communication and by implication on teaching.

In this paper the causes of high levels of communication apprehension are investigated and the findings of several studies measuring levels of CA of both pupils, student teachers and teachers of different cultural groups in the region are discussed. The negative effects of high levels of communication apprehension (regarding pupils, student teachers as well as teachers) on the teaching-learning situation are explained.

Suggestions are made of how to prevent and/or surmount CA in the classroom in order to improve the quality of teaching and interaction in classrooms and eventually in the quality of life of all those involved in the educational process.

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Author: Mr. Tiaan Kirsten, Potchefstroom University for CHE

Title: Assessing the level of quality of life as a determinant of mental health in South Africa

The concepts of quality of life and mental health are inextricably linked by definition. Assessing the level of quality of life will therefore give a fair indication of the state of mental health in South Africa. In order to do this demands a holistic perspective of South Africa, like the proposed meta-approach of Jordaan and Jordaan.

Sub-contexts as determinants of the contents of the four contexts of human existence - biological, intra-psychic ecological and meta-physical - need to be analysed and synthesised. In doing so, and taking the interaction and intra-action dynamics between the different contexts into consideration, one would be able to understand resultant experiences, problems, behaviour and phenomena indicative of the level of quality of life and therefore also the state of mental health.

This process will provide a point of departure in planning for the promotion of quality of life and therefore mental health as well.

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Author: Dr Mutindi Ndunda, University of Namibia

Title: Structural adjustment policies and intensification of women's work: Impact on their education and health

This paper examines the impact of structural adjustment policies (SAP) on women’s education and health. It highlights the struggles, constraints, challenges and sacrifices that delineate the everyday lives of rural women of Kenya and their effort to provide their children with education opportunities within the current social, economic and political context of the Kenyan society. The paper draws on data collected in a larger study that examined women’s agency and development and educational policies in Kenya. The study looked at the public discourse on development and education which is reflected in policy documents produced in Kenya since 1963.

The implementation of structural adjustment policies in Kenya has meant forced cuts in government spending particularly in the social services, health and education. The implication of these policies has been high costs of education to be mostly borne by parents. The SAP-mandated cuts contribute to increased poverty and misery. Women disproportionately suffer from these cute because of the direct impact on their own health and the intensification of their labour to compensate for decreased health and education services for their family.

The high cost of education has necessitated women to pick up a multiplicity of income generating activities to afford their children, particularly daughters, educational opportunities. These activities are labour intensive and accrue the women minimal benefits. In addition, some women have developed health problems that could be linked to their involvement in these extremely strenuous activities. The women define their income generating activities as sacrifices that they must endure to grovide their children with educational opportunities denied them.

Development and educational policies tied to structural adjustment policies have thus intensified women’s work. The increasing intensification of women work has had a, profound impact on their health. Some women who participated in my study (Ndunda, 1995) are petty traders and maximise their benefits by carrying heavy loads to and from far away market places. Most have severe lower back pains because of carrying heavy loads for long distances, bending for long hours planting, weeding, and watering vegetables for sale in the markets. In addition, the women carry heavy loads such as water, firewood, maize and beans on their backs. Even worse is the fact that these women cannot afford the services of a private practitioner since government hospitals no longer have specialists,

When a woman is ill, the whole family suffers because of the multiplicity of roles that she performs. The repercussions are phenomenal. The illness of a mother limits educational opportunities of her children, particularly the female children who are called upon to take up their mothers’ roles as food producers, child rearers and caregivers. Female children have also become child labourers to earn money to support their siblings. In addition, because of the multiplicity of women’s roles in the family, particularly as food producer, prolonged illness of the mother subjects the family to food insecurity.

Even though the national rhetoric expressed in National Development acknowledges that the quality of a country’s labour force is to a large extent dependent on women’s performance as mothers, the custodians of family health and welfare, especially that of young children, aged and sick (Ndengwa, 1991, p.229), rarely do the policy makers recommend policies that would effectively address the plight of the over 80% of women who live in the rural areas.

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Author: Dr. Dolly Ntseane, University of Namibia

Title: The effects of job transfer on the quality of life of teachers in Botswana

While much concern has been raised about the trauma of geographic transfers on families in Botswana, no empirical study has been conducted to substantiate these claims. The primary aim of this study was to examine the unintended consequences of transfer policy on the quality of life of teachers in Botswana.

A triangulation of methods was used to answer research questions. Phase I of the study included face-to-face interviews with policy makers, administrators and representatives of public service organizations (n=l5). Phase II of the study consisted of a survey questionnaire addressed to transferred teachers in selected primary and secondary schools in Botswana (n=361). Finally, data for Phase III were collected through face to face interviews with transferees and their spouses (n=40). Other modes of observations used in the study included: document review, focus groups, conference presentations and participant observations.

The study findings suggest that geographic transfer is a source of strain for dual career couples who live apart. Compared with their counterparts, these transferees are dissatisfied with marriage, experience enormous financial burdens, are dissatisfied with work and are not well integrated in communities where they are located.

This study offers policy makers with a sound information base for the development of a transfer policy that takes family needs into account. An Employee Assistance Program is recommended as a viable option for addressing the needs of transferees and their families. Finally, a sound rural development, program is suggested as a long term solution for the diversification of the economy and the creation of employment opportunities.

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Author: Makhosazane Ntshalintshali, University of Namibia

Title: Education and quality of life as part of human resource development

Education not only takes place during childhood and at school level, but also in working environments and through-out adulthood. Personal development is possible until old age, as we know from life-span developmental psychology.

In this paper a focus on education with regard to quality of life will be given from an organisation psychological point of view. Job satisfaction and work motivation have an important impact on life satisfaction, also on self-esteem. Work organisations, whether public or private, are responsible to ensure the quality of life of employees. Employers and people in managerial positions should be educated in improving the quality of life of their personnel as part of human resource development. Also unions could educate their members in improving their living standard. With regard to Swaziland the meaning of education for quality of life within the context of human resource development and labour relations will be elaborated.

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Authors: M. M. Sakoane & T. Mathafeng, LDTC, Lesotho

Title: Literacy needs assessment survey of neo-literates in three districts of Lesotho

To contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of neo-literates through education, the Lesotho Distance Teaching Centre in its 1994-95 plan, decided to conduct a study to determine their literacy needs on which to base the development relevant learning materials. Specifically the study assessed life-skill needs of the targeted groups and outlined topics of interest with which to develop learning materials. The pilot study used subjects from Qacha's Nek, Quthing and Mohale's Hoek Districts.

The findings reflected that most neo-literates want to improve their reading, writing, numeracy and English speaking particularly for job seeking purposes. These imply material production should centre around topics on functional literacy.

The study recommended that for purposes of empowerment, materials production should stress the following topics:

proper living conditions in which fighting against diseases and good health practices are catered for;

environment and how to cope with it; and,

efficient ways of participating in national activities.

Literacy programmes should be carried out by community effort through development committees.

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Author: Dr. M. M. Shale, University of Lesotho

Title: Hospital vs. home delivery in Lesotho: a comparison of mountain and non-mountain locations

This study explores the impact of the psychological, lay referral, and structural factors on women’s use of hospital vs. home for childbirth in Lesotho. In Lesotho half the deliveries is reported to occur at home with the majority supervised by untrained personnel.

A health care seeking model is employed that assumes that hospital care seeking is a function of overcoming three barriers. We predict that with more hospital use will go low hospital fears, low need for home care, high lay referral encouragement, and low structural barriers.

Data were gathered in villages in both mountain and lowlands areas. A convenience sample of 493 female respondents of child bearing age, was drawn using a semi-structured interview schedule. Additionally, qualitative data were obtained from informal interviews with traditional and modern health care providers and (2) two focus groups of elderly women (at the mountain site) and village health workers (at the lowland site).

Two analytical orientations were employed: The additive approach examined the relative strength of the aforementioned independent variables, and their combined effect on hospital delivery. The interaction approach examined the structural conditions under which particular variables predict hospital delivery.

The dependent variable of the study (hospital vs. home delivery) was measured by the woman’s report of where she delivered the first of her two children. The data supported the additive model; the structural variables of distance and respondent’s age were more strongly related to hospital seeking than the lay referral or psychological variables. The combined effects of the variables impacted hospital vs. home delivery very strongly.

The interactive model yielded interesting findings: for example, among mountain residents, only mother’s influence (lay referral) had an impact on hospital delivery.

Qualitative data underscore the important role of traditional beliefs, particularly the fear of witchcraft. An interplay of traditional and modern beliefs is the finding that women concerned about witchcraft seek hospital care as a refuge. The research demonstrates that in developing countries it is important to use health seeking models that evaluate traditional and modern health beliefs.

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Author: Dr. B. Tiisekwa1, A. T. Dlamini1 & Dr. G. N. Shongwe2, 1Departments of Home Economics and 2Crop Production, University of Swaziland

Title: Nutrient composition and acceptability of emasi dish prepared by using selected sorghum cultivars

This study was conducted as part of the crop improvement programme in Swaziland with the view to improve the quality of life by broadening the food base, using sorghum, a drought tolerant traditional cereal, as a sustainable source of nutrients.

Sensory tests together with laboratory analysis were performed to determine and compare the nutrient contents and acceptability of emasi dishes prepared with the five sorghum cultivars. The acceptability test of five different dishes was conducted in six schools in the Lubombo, an arid region of' Swaziland. Purposive sampling was used so as to get a representative sample of different age groups from different areas within the region. The nutrient content of sorghum emasi dishes formulations were analysed by using chemical and instrumental methods.

The results which are in line with literature indicate that sorghum emasi dishes can serve as a moderate source of protein (6%) and minerals. However, emasi dishes prepared with different sorghums differ significantly (P < 0.05) in crude protein, calcium, iron and phosphorus contents.

The acceptability of the different variations was compared by using taste, texture and colour sensory attributes. The evaluation considered age and home area of the panellist.

Results show a significant difference in taste for overall totals between cultivar SC 326-6 (red) and B35 (brown), with SC 326-6 being most accepted. There was a variation in texture acceptability with some panellists preferring SDSH 148 (white) and others opting for B35 as most acceptable. Results for colour acceptance showed SC 326-6 as most acceptable and SDSH 148, the least acceptable. Different age groups had different likings for taste, texture and colour.

Overall, SC 326-6 was the most liked cultivar recommended to farmers in the region. The use of this variety along with emasi can contribute to the quality of life of consumers through improved health by ensuring a sustainable supply of nutrients. In addition, the obtained data will contribute to the educationists' and nutritionists' appreciation of the value of Swazi traditional foods for inclusion in teaching and dietary recommendations.

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Last modified:  26-Apr-99