Reproducing Inequities: Poverty and the Politics of Population in Haiti

Reproducing Inequities: Poverty and the Politics of Population in Haiti

Reproducing Inequities: Poverty and the Politics of Population in Haiti

Reproducing Inequities: Poverty and the Politics of Population in Haiti

Synopsis

Residents of Haiti face a grim reality of starvation, violence, lack of economic opportunity, and minimal health care. For years, aid organizations have unsuccessfully attempted to alleviate the problems by creating health and family planning centers, including one modern (and, by local standards, luxurious) clinic of Cité Soleil.

In Reproducing Inequities, M. Catherine Maternowska argues that we too easily overlook the political dynamics that shape choices about family planning. Through a detailed study of the attempt to provide modern contraception in the community of Cité Soleil, Maternowska demonstrates the complex interplay between local and global politics that so often thwarts well-intended policy initiatives.

Excerpt

Paul Farmer

Poverty and social inequalities, including gender inequality, have become increasingly important as subjects of study for anthropologists. But no book better explores the painful intersection of these subjects with ethnographic depth and theoretical rigor than Catherine Maternowska's new study of family planning in one of the poorest slums in the world—Haiti's Cité Soleil. Reproducing Inequities: Poverty and the Politics of Population in Haiti is much more than a study of the vicissitudes of Haitian women seeking to control fertility in a setting where they cannot easily feed or protect their children. It is a painful and harrowing exploration of how aid programs purporting to reduce fertility come to fail their poorest “clients,” to use a telling bit of family planning jargon. and fail they have, even though family planning efforts have been supported generously by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), two of the largest hinders in the field:

By Western Hemisphere standards, Haiti's progress in family planning is
at best very poor. Even if contraceptive prevalence climbed approxi
mately 4 percent during the period under study, it did not affect overall
fertility rates, and there has been a general failure to achieve better
health and quality of life for women, men, and children. Three decades
since the population control sector's inception, the institutions that
usurped control of the public sector—including usaid, ippf, the Popula
tion Council, and several others—were still actively working in Haiti in
the 1990s. a great proportion of their work was spent determining why
family planning efforts have failed so markedly but, ultimately, their
efforts to effect change have been minimal.

These failures lead to great death and disability, almost all of it registered among women living in poverty. Haiti's example is dire. One 2001 report cited . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.