“Instead of worrying about sheer numbers when the world’s population hits seven billion next week, we should think about how to make the planet a better place for people to live in, the United Nations said” in its report, “The State of World Population 2011,” released Wednesday, Reuters reports (Ormsby, 10/26). “The world must seize the opportunity to invest in the health and education of its youth to reap the full benefits of future economic development or else face a continuation of the sorry state of disparities in which hundreds of millions of people in developing nations lack the most basic ingredients for a decent life, U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said in the foreword of the study,” the U.N. News Centre writes.
Family Planning & Reproductive Health
Disconnecting Global AIDS From Reproductive Health Stalled Efforts to Expand Family Planning Services, UNFPA Head Says
Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNPFA), said in an interview with the Guardian that “efforts to expand family planning services in the developing world stalled for a decade while global health organizations turned their energies to fighting HIV/AIDS. ‘We made a mistake. We disconnected HIV from reproductive health. We should never have done that because it is part and parcel,’ he said.” The newspaper adds, “Osotimehin said the international community was regaining momentum in its efforts to make family planning services available to women in all countries” and “argued it was crucial for developing countries to devote a larger share of their own resources to family planning and health.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights has released its online World’s Abortion Laws map for 2011. The center has produced the map since 1998 “to visually compare the legal status of induced abortion in different countries — and to advocate for greater progress in ensuring access to safe and legal abortion services…
The Guardian examines China’s one-child policy and its impact. The newspaper writes that “the description of the system as a ‘one-child policy’ is misleading. Most married women in China have the chance to bear two offspring, but the entitlement to breed beyond a solitary child is determined by a complex set of rules” and factors. In fact, the policy’s “countless adjustments over the past 30 years have created a mind-bogglingly complex system that touches on everything from contraception and sterilization to pensions and tax incentives,” according to the Guardian. The newspaper notes that “across all of China, the government claims there would be more than 300 million more children without the family planning policy” and that “the nation’s population is forecast to peak around 2030,” leading “many [to] say the family planning policy had outlived its usefulness.” It also describes the policy’s effects in Henan Province, which “claims some of the greatest successes in taming demographic growth through its family planning policies” (Watts 10/25).
Several opinion pieces respond to a report (.pdf) presented on Monday to the U.N. General Assembly by Arnand Grover, U.N. special rapporteur for the Right to Health, that “considers the impact of criminal and other legal restrictions on abortion; conduct during pregnancy; contraception and family planning; and the provision of sexual and reproductive education and information,” according to the report summary. The report also states, “Realization of the right to health requires the removal of barriers that interfere with individual decision-making on health-related issues and with access to health services, education and information, in particular on health conditions that only affect women and girls. In cases where a barrier is created by a criminal law or other legal restriction, it is the obligation of the State to remove it” (8/3).
In this post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Amanda Makulec, a monitoring and evaluation associate with John Snow Inc., discusses “the Alliance for Reproductive, Maternal, and Newborn Health, which was born over a year ago to support progress towards MDGs four and five in 10 priority countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia,…
In his BBC News column, medical correspondent Fergus Walsh examines maternal health, fertility, myths surrounding contraception, and gender equality in Zambia, which “has one of the world’s fastest growing populations.” With the nation’s population expected to triple to 39 million people by 2050 and reach 100 million by 2100, “[t]he potential problem for Zambia is that the population increase is so rapid that the government may struggle to keep pace. Those under 16 need education, healthcare and homes but they are not yet contributing to the economy. Zambia can barely feed 13 million people so how will it cope in the future?” Walsh writes (10/24).
Focus On Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic Distracted From Family Planning Efforts, U.N. Population Fund Head Says
“The international community has ‘made a mistake’ with the intensity of its focus on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and lost ground on family planning issues as a result,” Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNPF), said in an interview with the Guardian. “Osotimehin said the international community was regaining momentum in its efforts to make family planning services available to women in all countries” and “argued it was crucial for developing countries to devote a larger share of their own resources to family planning and health,” the newspaper adds.
Helen Epstein, author of “The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West and the Fight Against AIDS” examines the implications of the world’s growing population for Africa in this New York Times Opinion piece, writing, “Before this century ends, there could well be 10 billion of us, a billion more than previously expected. Nearly all of these extra billion people will be born in Africa, where women in some countries bear seven children each on average, and only one in 10 uses contraception. With mortality rates from disease falling, the population of some countries could increase eightfold in the next century.”
As the world’s population approaches seven billion — which it is expected to hit sometime in March, according to Census Bureau estimates — Joel Cohen, a mathematical biologist and the head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University and Columbia University, examines the implications of “the enormous increases in households, cities, material consumption and waste” on health, agriculture, water security, the environment and poverty in this New York Times opinion piece. He writes, “For some in the West, the greatest challenge — because it is the least visible — is to shake off, at last, the view that large and growing numbers of people represent power and prosperity.”