Magazine article Conscience

Editor's Note

Magazine article Conscience

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

THE CONTINUED ECONOMIC AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENTS in Africa have generated both awe and concern in equal measure. There is much to praise: increased life expectancy and health outcomes; increased wealth and a burgeoning middle class; significant reductions in poverty; an increase in democratization; massive increases in the provision of hi-tech services; as well as smart use of the wealth generated by the high commodity prices for the incredible natural resources on the continent. Half the population is under the age of 25, so improved access to education will surely mean that the potential to continue this growth is huge.

Yet too often we only hear about the bad news: troublesome hotspots, corruption, exploitation and many other challenges.

In this issue of Conscience, we decided to find out for ourselves what the real story is in relation to reproductive health: what challenges exist, what potential there is. Naturally, the story we uncovered was mixed, with some dreadful stories interspersed by successes and many glimmers of hope.

For our lead story, Joke van Kampen traveled to Kenya to find out what impact the Catholic hierarchy has on the provision of healthcare there. We also hear from Alisha Bjerregaard, who reports on a harrowing story of prejudice against pregnant schoolgirls in Tanzania, and Leo Igwe, who provides a fascinating account about the interplay between secularism and some of the many religious traditions on the continent.

We include three stories about abortion. …

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