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 Organization for the Development of Women and Children Ethiopia [ODWaCE]

Traditional practices could be, operationally, defined as customary acts transmitted from past generations and likely to be passed to the next. According to a joint WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA statement, the "norms of care and behavior based on age, life stage, gender and social class are often referred to as traditional practices".

Judgment on whether a particular traditional practice is harmful or beneficial is never easy, nor should it be taken lightly. However, knowledge about the physical and psychological nature of man has advanced greatly since the nineteenth century. There is now a more thorough understanding of the structure and function of the human body, as well as of human psychic and social life. There has been an improvement in the conditions for more objective assessment and judgment on whether a traditional practice is harmful to human beings, and therefore incompatible with accepted scientific theory and practice. The United Nations Economic Convention Article 15 (1) (b) has recognized the right of every one "to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its application". This is denied to most people in traditional societies.

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