The Origins and Evolution of Family Planning Programs in Developing Countries

By Judith R. Seltzer | Go to book overview

Chapter One
INTRODUCTION

Family planning programs—organized efforts to provide contraception to women and men—were one of the major social and health interventions in the second half of the 20th century. These programs exist in most countries and in all world regions. As of 1998, 179 governments, representing 92 percent of governments where over 99 percent of the world's population lived, supported access to contraception.1 Governments provide substantial support for family planning, and most users of contraception in developing countries rely on their governments for contraceptive supplies and services, although the private sector, including pharmacies and private organizations, is also an important source of such services. Many of the family planning programs in developing countries have been carried out with considerable support from international donors.

Over the years, proponents of family planning programs have seen the benefits of these programs as similar to those of other development efforts—e.g., in education, or disease prevention through immunizations—in helping to bring about improvements in the wellbeing of individuals and societies. However, the international movement to promote and support family planning in developing countries as a way to meet the demand for fertility regulation and as a way to lower fertility and population growth has also generated

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1
Contraception is the deliberate prevention of conception by any of various methods. The terms contraception and birth control both mean pregnancy prevention. Family planning programs provide contraception, or birth control. Health service providers often use terms for methods interchangeably (i.e., contraceptive methods, birth control methods, and/or family planning methods).

-1-

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The Origins and Evolution of Family Planning Programs in Developing Countries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables ix
  • Summary xi
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Acronyms xxiii
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Origins and Evolution of Family Planning Programs 9
  • Chapter Three - Demographic Rationale 45
  • Chapter Four - Health Rationale 73
  • Chapter Five - Other Human Rights Concerns 109
  • Chapter Six - Conclusions, Lessons Learned, and Policy Implications 133
  • Bibliography 143
  • Index 175
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