Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Call for Europe to take the lead in revitalising family planning agenda in world's poorest countries

01.11.2006
Population growth in sub-Saharan Africa a bigger threat to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) than HIV/AIDS

A leading population expert will today make a plea for a revitalisation of the family planning agenda in the world’s poorest countries, cautioning that soaring population rates are now a bigger threat to achieving the MDGs than HIV/AIDS.

John Cleland, Professor of Medical Demography at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, has contributed a paper to a major series on sexual and reproductive health which is launched online today in the Lancet.

Professor Cleland and his co-authors assert that investment in family planning should have a higher priority than investment in HIV prevention and treatment in most poor countries, because it poses a greater threat to international development. He also maintains that leadership may now need to come from European governments and agencies, rather than the United States which has, historically, led on this issue.

Family planning promotion is unique among medical interventions in the breadth of its potential benefits in terms of achieving the MDGs. It reduces poverty, maternal, and child mortality (in 2000, about 90% of global abortion-related and 20% of obstetric-related mortality an morbidity could have been averted by the use of effective contraception – amounting to 150,000 deaths avoided). It contributes to achieving universal primary schooling, empowers women by reducing the burden of excessive childbearing, and enhances environmental sustainability by stabilising the population of the planet.

In the past forty years, family planning programmes have played a major part in raising the prevalence of contraceptive practice from less than 10% to 60% and reducing fertility in developing countries from six to about three births per woman. But the battle is by no means over - in half the 75 low- and lower-middle-income countries (mainly in Africa) contraceptive practice remains low and fertility, population growth and unmet need for family planning remain high. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to see their populations double in the next few decades, yet in the last ten years or so family planning has dropped right down the international development agenda, and global funding and support has waned.

Professor Cleland comments: ‘A convincing case can be made that investment in family planning should have a higher priority than investment in HIV prevention and treatment. Yet, current priorities are the reverse. For instance, in Ghana, HIV/AIDS is sucking funds, staff, and political energy from family planning, and this is a country where women are more likely to die of unsafe abortion than of AIDS . . . In Uganda, with a moderately severe longstanding HIV epidemic, population size is nevertheless projected to grow from 30 million today to 61 million by 2025, and further to 127 million by the middle of this century, posing huge difficulties for economic advance.

‘Historically, leadership has come from the US government, and more than half of all international assistance for family planning still comes from that country. But leadership cannot now be expected from that quarter. A separate paper by Professor Anna Glasier1, which appears in the Lancet today, discusses how the adoption of effective family planning policies has been compromised by an increasingly conservative approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights by the Bush administration, including moves to refuse US family planning assistance to foreign NGOs working in abortion.

‘Hopefully, others will be prepared to take the lead, perhaps European countries, the World Bank, or even the Gates Foundation with its massive funds and prestige. Most poor countries already have population policies in place but need encouragement from development agencies to implement them with conviction and commitment’.

The keys to effective and sustainable family planning programmes are well established, say the authors. These include high-level political commitment, which is what is lacking at the moment, a broad coalition of support from elite groups, adequate funding, the legitimisation of the idea of smaller families and modern contraceptives through mass media, and the availability of a range of methods which ca be accessed via medical facilities, outreach services and social marketing initiatives.

Lindsay Wright | alfa
Further information:
http://www.lshtm.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>