Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Access to Family Planning Is Increasing, Report Says Botswana and Iran Cited as Success Stories in Providing Services

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Access to Family Planning Is Increasing, Report Says Botswana and Iran Cited as Success Stories in Providing Services

Article excerpt

THE dimensions of global overpopulation are illustrated best by simple statistics. Every 24 hours, for example, the earth takes on a quarter of a million new passengers. The numbers alarm demographers and environmentalists.

But a report issued today, entitled "World Access to Birth Control," brings some cheer to a gloomy subject: Even as the human family swells, access to family planning services and information is improving "dramatically."

The biggest gains have been in the developing world, where 95 percent of future population growth is projected to occur, says the report, issued by the Population Crisis Committee (PCC), a Washington-based private research group. The result is that for the first time millions of couples now have the ability to choose how many children they want and when to have them.

"There are two important implications of the study," says PCC president J. Joseph Speidel. "The first is that when family planning services are made available, they are used. People want them. The second is that improvements in family planning programs will eventually be reflected in lower birthrates, with all the health and economic benefits that implies."

Using data collected in 1990, the report says 50 percent of couples use some method of contraception, up more than 15 percentage points since PCC's last such report in 1987. Excluding China, contraceptive use in developing countries during this period has risen by about one-third.

The report says the global contraception-prevalence rate must rise to 75 percent before world population growth can be stabilized. If this rate is reached by the end of the century, population could stabilize at 9 billion by the middle of the 21st century, the report says. The current world population is 5.4 billion.

The report ranks 124 countries on the basis of three criteria: the range of available birth control methods, including abortion; the scope of distribution of contraceptives; and the competence of family planning providers.

One highlighted success story is Botswana, where the government's fiscal and political support has dramatically improved the availability of family planning services and information. …

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.