1. Callister, Lynn Clark RN, PhD
  2. Angelini, Diane EdD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN
  3. Blackburn, Susan PhD, RN, C, FAAN

Article Content

The provision of high-quality health care for women and newborns is critically important. International health agencies recognize that the health of women and newborns is an excellent indicator of the health of populations worldwide. Because of global migration, nurses in the United States may care for women from around the world; therefore, it is vital to increase understanding of global perinatal health issues.


This issue of The Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing (16:3) discusses some of these global health issues. First, Kriebs provides an overview of the global reach of the human immunodeficiency virus, which is endemic in developing nations. The article focuses on the importance of preventing mother-to-child transmission of this disease.


Next, Dymchenko and Callister articulate the opportunities and challenges of women's health in the Russian Federation. While the statistics are sobering, changes in nursing education and practice in the former Soviet Union are making an important difference in the health of women and newborns.


With the growing Hispanic population in the United States, gaining an understanding of acculturation and perinatal outcomes in childbearing women of Mexican descent is essential. Callister and Birkhead provide an integrative review that should prove helpful in guiding clinical practice and future research. Respecting and encouraging traditional cultural values can make an important difference in perinatal outcomes in this vulnerable population.


Genarro and associates describe an educational program that is proving to be highly effective, economical, culturally sensitive, nontechnologically focused, and sustainable in Uganda. This train-the-trainer intervention seeks to change some health beliefs and practices of men and women of childbearing age. Based on work in Ghana, such outreach by nurses can make significant differences in the health and well-being of women and their families.


The articles in the neonatal section of this issue reflect perspectives of neonatal care issues from three continents: North America, Asia, and Africa. Marcellus presents the results of a benchmarking study that examined current practices in Canadian hospitals related to care of substance-exposed infants. She uses a two-pronged approach aggregating a report of current nursing and medical practices with a review of current literature and research. She encourages each agency to examine their own policies and procedures within the context of their own communities.


Tilokskulchai and coworkers describe a study of maternal-infant attachment in a neonatal intensive care unit in Bangkok, Thailand. They observed maternal behaviors during the very first visit with the child. They later interviewed each mother regarding her feelings about her infant and the infant's behaviors. Tilokskulchai and associates discuss their findings from both an attachment and a cross-cultural perspective.


Lester describes her experiences in developing a neonatal intensive care unit in central Uganda, an area with some of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. This article describes the development of the NICU and the author's experiences in working with the hospital staff using a self-sufficiency model. Based on these experiences she identifies strategies for neonatal nurses who might have the opportunity to participate in setting up an NICU in a foreign country. Nurses can and are making a difference in the health and well being of mothers and infants throughout the world through global initiatives such as those described in this issue