BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Archive for May, 2017

The collection and storage of knowledge and information is a practice as old as civilization, and some evidence exist to support this. Over 5,000 years ago, approximately 30,000 clay tablets  which contained information sources were found in ancient Mesopotamia. Also, papyrus scrolls, from 1300-1200BC and clay tablets, from 704-681BC have been uncovered by Archeologists in ancient cities of Egypt and Assyria respectively.

In recent times, the method of collecting and storing information has changed, and the term, Library is used to represent this practice. By definition, a Library is a collection or group of collections of educative resources and repositories organized in a variety of formats. Libraries may also refer to buildings, rooms, facilities or just cabinets that contain a collection of books or other print or non-print materials, periodicals, films and music organized and maintained for use (entertainment, study, research, etc.) within, or for borrowing. They are found in communities, institutions and homes and can be classified as either public or private. Sometimes, the room, building, or facility that houses a library is not necessarily built for that purpose but merely provides access to a collection of information sources.

Librarians are information professionals and other experts who are trained to provide convenient physical, digital, bibliographic or intellectual access to the people who use the library. Institutional libraries, such as university and school libraries, designed for a specific audience are staffed by librarians and other personnel trained to provide services that meet the needs of users. They mange and offer specific services or assistance with the purpose of educating, informing and entertaining various audiences who need the library and require their support.

Libraries are built or created for the goal of inspiring individual learning and creativity as well as advancing societies as a whole. They are usually the only easily available source of comprehensive information essential for personal and professional development. Libraries are important sources of information for all sectors of the society and areas of life including health, socio-economic, environmental, physical and spiritual. They are particularly important for research, knowledge acquisition and information sharing. Communities benefit when members use  library resources to make smart business decisions, improve job skills and develop their talents because these actions create empowered citizens and pave ways that enrich the economy. Furthermore, libraries can act as community and cultural centers where struggling or depressed neighbors and colleagues can meet people and revitalize themselves, thereby improving the quality of life.

The directory containing information on libraries is available in an alphabetical order by country in World Guide to Libraries, published by K.G. Saur. Two of the comprehensive worldwide online directories of library homepages are Libdex and Libweb.

Broadly conceptualized, social change represents any change in social relations. Like change in general, it is in constant existence in our societies. However, the distinction between social change and other forms of change in the society is that the former is significant and encompasses processes that modify the social structure while the latter serves primarily to maintain the social structure. More specifically, sociologists define social change as any alteration over time in social behavior systems and cultural values or norms that result in significant social consequences and impact society prominently.

Some social changes that have shown to have significant long‐term effects in the world include industrial revolution, abolition of slavery, technological advancement and the feminist movement. In our societies, social change may occur for various reasons and result from a number of sources. Some of these sources include research and information, diffusion, immigration and contact with other societies; changes in the ecosystem which results in loss of natural resources or emergence of diseases, technological change characterised by industrial revolution; and population growth. In addition to the above sources, social movements have also played vital roles in inspiring dissatisfied members of a society to bring about social change. These movements may be ideological, economic, religious and political in nature and are perpetuated by protests and activism and sometimes, violence.

In order to understand and explain patterns and causes of social change, three theories are used by sociologists and they include: Evolutionary, Functionalist, and Conflict theories of change. These theories all acknowledge that the first response to social movements is resistance, particularly when people with dissimilar interests feel threatened by potential changes.

There are several peculiarities with social change. These changes may happen all the time and are almost always constant; an example being the rate at which technology advancement occurs. On the other hand, some other changes, such as structural or systematic shifts in norms and values, are much slower in occurrence. Social change may be deliberate and intentional or completely unexpected and unplanned; for one, developed societies, like as the United States, actively promote many kinds of change which are usually controversial. In general, some changes are more significant than others; changes in trends and fashions, although very obvious and prominent, are much less significant compared to major inventions and the advancement of technology.

Transitions in the labour market and social systems can either be relieving or burdensome on people’s economic security, social adaptability and psychology. This consequence of social change  directly affects mental health by causing social stress.

What is reproductive health?

Reproductive health is a state of complete well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system. It represents a broad range of health topics that affect our sexual and reproductive systems including sex, family planning and contraception, pregnancy, birth defects, developmental disorders, low birth weight, preterm birth, reduced fertility, impotence, menstrual disorders, maternal and child mortality, sexually transmitted infections, female genital mutilation and vasectomy. People who have a healthy reproductive life are more likely to have a satisfying and safe sex life, can to reproduce successfully and possess the freedom to do so, whenever, wherever and however they want to. To maintain one’s reproductive and sexual health, it is important to be well informed, and have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable services and contraception methods. It is also necessary to protect oneself from sexually transmitted infections through education and empowerment.

United nations population fund (UNFPA) works with a wide range of partners such as governments, civil society, donors and other UN agencies to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care and rights. This emphasizes that individuals have the right to make choices about their sexual and reproductive health. Furthermore, the International Conference on Population and Development illustrates a strong link between reproductive health, human rights and sustainable development. For instance, when people are unhealthy in their sexual and reproductive lives, they are less likely to make choices about their own bodies and futures. This, in turn, results in a series of consequences that may impact families and future generations.

In many cases, sexual and reproductive health issues go hand in hand with human rights and gender inequality. This is because it is women that bear children, and to a great extent, bear the responsibility for nurturing them. Understanding this relationship fosters development and can potentially reduce complications associated with reproductive health, poverty and gender inequality. In may developing countries, reproductive health problems remain a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for women and girls of childbearing age. Poorer women are more likely to suffer from unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion, maternal death and disability, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), gender-based violence, and other related problems.

The disproportionate number of HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies is a consequence of lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and care. This then increases the risk of complications during childbirth, unsafe abortions, suicide contemplation and school drop out. Sexual and reproductive health are important lifetime concerns for both women and men, from childhood to adulthood. Consequently, programs that support comprehensive sex education including prevention and treatment need to be promoted. In addition, services across a all sectors required to ensure health care is accessible must be strengthened, from health and education systems to transport systems.

An aging Population is a population with an increasing or rising median age. This may be attributable to factors such as decline in fertility rates, aging of a baby boom generation, migration or increase in life expectancy.

It’s no longer news that the world’s population is aging quite rapidly. People aged 60 and older make up about 12% of the global population, and this number is projected to rise up to 22% by 2050. Many countries in the world today, experience an increase in the number of older people; notably Canada (where seniors are expected to comprise around 23% to 25% of the population by 2036) and Japan (where People over the age of 65 make up a quarter of the population, and is on track to reach 40%). This is not a bad thing, in fact, longevity is a sign that a country is developed and that structures or factors, supportive of a good long life, exist. However, aging is a significant change that has implications for almost every sector in our society, including labour and financial markets; demand for goods and services, such as housing, health care, transportation and social protection; and family structures, including procreation and intergenerational ties. Given the extent to which a population can be impacted by changes in its composition in general, it’s important to prepare for the economic and social shifts associated with an aging population.

The United Nation’s 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) was instituted during the Second World Assembly on Aging; Oh yeah! There’s a world assembly on aging, it’s that important! The meeting emphasized the need to ensure seniors are included in development planning, such that they are able to participate in, and benefit equitably from development. Additionally, societies should ensure that seniors are accommodated through the provision of enabling environments to encourage them to engage in activities that will improve the quality of their lives and advance their health and well-being. More so, as populations increasingly age, more people retire and acquire old age illnesses, hence, it becomes essential for governments to stabilize the economy by establishing effective policies and services with regards to housing, employment, infrastructure, social protection and health care, specifically for older people.

To ensure seniors live longer and healthier, the World Health Assembly adopted a comprehensive Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health 2016-2020 and a related resolution in May 2016. The strategy was initiated in order to inspire every country’s commitment to action on healthy ageing. Action on healthy aging demands the development of age-friendly environments and the alignment of health systems to the needs of older populations. Furthermore, It promises the development of sustainable and equitable systems of long-term care, emphasizes equity and human rights, including the important role of involving older adults in all decisions that concern them.

As individuals, we all need to care for, and treat older adults with love and respect, not only because we will be in their shoes someday, but because it the right and honorable thing to do.

May we live to become Elders… cheers!


Motherhood is often a positive and fulfilling experience, however, it is accompanied by so much suffering, depression, ill-health or even death, for many women. The period around birth is a significant window of opportunity for prevention and management of maternal and newborn complications, which can otherwise become fatal.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Maternal health refers the health of women during the period of pregnancy, childbirth and following childbirth (postpartum). In 2015, an estimated 303,000 women died of complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Sadly, many of these deaths could have been prevented by well known and effective medical interventions. Unfortunately, in most of the affected countries- usually developing countries, women lack access to quality care before, during and after childbirth. The WHO’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 is to improve the quality of maternal health and set the goals of reducing maternal mortality by 75% through universal access to reproductive health.

In developed countries, even though maternal health has significantly improved in the 21st century, women still die or have intense complications in pregnancy yearly. Notwithstanding advances in medicine and medical technologies, data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in developed countries such as the United States has increased in the last 25 years. Implicated complications include infections (including flu), bleeding, blood clots, heart conditions and high blood pressure.

More recently, although the risk of dying of pregnancy complications has more recently reduced in general, some women remain at higher risk than others. For instance, older women are at a higher risk of complications and death due to pregnancy compared to their younger counterparts. Specifically, women aged 35 to 39 are almost twice as likely to die of pregnancy complications as women aged 20 to 24. This risk becomes higher for women aged 40 or older.

Emphasis on maternal health acknowledges the fact that women have the right to health. This shows that access to quality sexual, reproductive and maternal health is fundamental to both human right and development. Therefore, improving sexual, reproductive and maternal health should be central to the world’s commitment to gender equality and poverty alleviation. To achieve large scale and sustainable improvements in maternal health, underlying and systemic factors- including gender inequality, access to healthcare, cost of health services, policy barriers and power imbalances, which all have an impact on maternal health, must be addressed. Also, to eliminate every preventable maternal death, an understanding of maternal health as a right to health should be promoted through antenatal care, emergency obstetric care, skilled health attendance at delivery and improved access to healthcare for intending and recent mothers.