Sub-Saharan Political and Economic Structures and the NIEO

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This chapter discusses sub-Saharan political and economic structures and the New International Economic Order (NIEO). When considering the political and socio-economic development of Africa south of the Sahara, there has been a marked tendency to see the colonial period of African history as the starting point of the development of the continent. This has obscured the fact that pre-colonial Africa had a long indigenous history of development as witnessed by the historical existence of the great trading kingdoms of the Sahara in the East and of Ghana and Mali in the West. Present-day African leadership is faced with the unique situation of being in a position to completely reconstruct new post-colonial societies based on autonomous political and socio-economic systems and replace the imported and apparently inadequate structures that were part of its colonial heritage. The success of these countries in implementing the strategies of NIEO will depend, to a large extent, on their success in achieving new institutional stability and in fashioning more effective indigenous structures of political and economic life, based on their traditional patterns of development and their cultural heritage.

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The present paper aimed to examine perceived stigma, internalised stigma, self-esteem and social participation of leprosy patients and impact of gender roles on their health seeking behaviour. It is a primary survey based study on 262 (55 women; 207 men) leprosy patients aged 18-75 years who visited School of Tropical Medicine and Leprosy Mission of Kolkata. Apart from descriptive statistics, multinomial regression analysis was conducted on collected data. Results show that stigma had an impact on the lives of leprosy patients. Age was positively correlated with stigma, self-esteem and participation restriction of leprosy patients. Odd ratios showed that women patients faced greater stigma, which further lowered their self-esteem and social participation. Further duration of illness and visible deformity impaired patients’ self-esteem and social participation. Patients from lower income groups and lower caste experienced lower self-esteem and more participation-restrictions vis-à-vis the more privileged. Rural patients experienced greater stigma and social restrictions; and lower self-esteem than urban ones. Regular patient-counselling and raising public awareness about leprosy are recommended.
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