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Using Spousal Communication To Increase Family Planning In Africa

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.”

She continues, “Early next year, researchers will publish findings that provide good, if surprising, news: relaxed, trusting and frank conversations between men and women may be the most effective contraceptive of all” and examines whether a “contraceptive talking cure” could help curb Africa’s population growth. Epstein highlights a successful family planning program in Ghana and concludes, “Being able to express oneself and exchange ideas without fear of reprisal may be the very essence of empowerment, and potentially more important to lowering birthrates than money or access to health services, or even education” (10/22).

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