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PMC Articles Tagged 'Family Planning'

Bill Ryerson: Blog from Burundi

September 10th, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

Bill Ryerson recently sent me this blog entry from Burundi.







Greetings from Kigali, Rwanda. I am just finishing a week of meetings in Burundi and Rwanda regarding new projects Population Media Center is planning.  I was accompanied on the visit to Burundi by Theo Nzeyimana, PMC’s Rwandese producer.

We arrived in Bujumbura late on Saturday night, September 1, in a pouring rainstorm.  I had flown from Lagos that day, and Theo joined me when I changed planes in Kigali [capital of Rwanda].  We arranged for a taxi to take us to the hotel.  When we got the bags loaded and got in the car, I noticed a strong smell of gasoline fumes.  The driver immediately lowered all the windows, so we could breathe, even if we were getting soaked by the rain.

As we left the airport grounds, I noticed the driver had no working windshield wipers and no defroster.  So through the pouring rain, he was creeping along wiping the fog off the inside of the windshield.  As we left the area that had streetlights, I noticed the taxi also had no headlights.  The driver struggled to stay on the road and to avoid oncoming vehicles.  Then in the middle of a swamp, the car stalled.  The driver opened the hood and moved some wires around and then asked Theo to push the car, while he tried to jump start it.  That did not work.  The driver then took a hammer to some part of the engine, and the dashboard lights came on.  Another push by Theo, and we were off to the hotel at 5 miles an hour.

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Gates Summit Aims to Fill Family Planning Gap

July 12th, 2012 by PMC | Add a Comment

Bob Walker: The working assumption always seems to be that population growth is a “given,” and that world population will be 9 billion by 2050 and there’s nothing that can or will be done about it.

Projected population growth, however, is just a projection. It’s not a prediction. (Demographers are loath to make predictions). To the extent that demographers talk about the assumptions underlying the UN medium variant, which now shows world population reaching 9 billion, by 2042, there’s a growing consensus that the assumptions may prove too optimistic (i.e. population may grow more rapidly than projected). Reasons for this vary, but it includes declining donor nation assistance for family planning over the past 17 years, a variety of cultural factors (e.g. prevalence of child marriage, male opposition, and misconceptions about the dangers of contraception). For more about the population projections, see this Woodrow Wilson Center discussion.

In particular, listen to the comments made by Carl Haub, the senior demographer at the Population Reference Bureau:

“It has been – I guess conventional is a good word – to assume that birth rates are going to come down the way they did in the rich countries,” Haub noted.

But there has been a “stall” for many developing countries, which he suggests is caused by fast initial uptake from urban women followed by much slower uptake by rural women. These dynamics, however, are relatively new and therefore are not always well incorporated into current projections.

On the other hand, population projections are extremely sensitive to changes in fertility. If the total fertility rate, the average number of children that a woman has in her lifetime, falls by even half a child, the impact on the long run projections is enormous.

Read the full article here: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/11/a-gates-summit-aims-to-fill-a-family-planning-gap/

Contraception, a life-saving investment for the Philippines

June 11th, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | 1 Comment

Opposition to contraception is hurting the Philippines. Each year, more than half of the 3.4 million pregnancies in the country are unplanned, resulting in high costs to women, their families and the national health care system. In addition, this very high rate of unintended pregnancy is impeding the Philippine’s development goals.

Yet this is not an epidemic for which there is no known solution. Unintended pregnancies are highly preventable if women have access to voluntary family planning information and services, particularly modern methods of contraception.

For full article, visit:

Contraceptives remain hard-to-come-by for impoverished Filipino women

June 11th, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Ask 46-year-old Erlinda Cristobal (real name concealed by request) how many children she has.
“Ten,” she said.

“But I was supposed to have only six,” she snapped in a breath.

After the sixth pregnancy, Cristobal decided that she and her husband, a casual laborer who earns an average of four dollars a day, should not have any more children.

“My husband doesn’t have a stable job. There are days when we don’t eat so that our children can,” she told Xinhua in an interview near her residence in Manila.

For full article, visit:

Sex Sells: A Tiny Nonprofit Uses Mass Media to Encourage Family Planning

June 5th, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

PMC was recently featured in Earth Island Journal

Sex Sells: A Tiny Nonprofit Uses Mass Media to Encourage Family Planning

Fikrite is a girl in trouble. Her grandfather has just died and now a neighbor, a man named Damte, has taken over the house and is trying to turn the place into a bar and brothel. Fikrite says she won’t allow it, so Damte starts spreading rumors about the girl and soon everyone, including her boyfriend, thinks that she is hiding a child born out of wedlock. Damte then seduces Fikrite’s stepsister, Lamrot, gets her hooked on booze and drugs, and knocks her up. When Lamrot tries to abort the pregnancy, she almost bleeds to death and lands in the hospital, where she finds out that she is HIV-positive.

If this sounds like overcooked melodrama – well, that’s the point. The story comes from “Yeken Kignit” (“Looking Over One’s Life”), a radio soap opera that gripped much of Ethiopia for 257 episodes beginning in 2002. The show had all of the elements that make serial dramas popular: sex, romance, mischief, betrayal, suspense. But the wildly successful program – which reached more than one half of Ethiopian adults during its two-year run and sparked a craze for naming baby girls Fikrite – wasn’t designed just for entertainment. Produced by a small US organization called the Population Media Center (PMC), the show was written with the express purpose of encouraging family planning, women’s empowerment, and HIV/AIDS awareness. Not all the listeners knew this, however, and that was also the point.
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PAKISTAN: Urgent need for better family planning

February 23rd, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Pakistan’s rapidly increasing population is placing severe strains on economic resources, development and security, say experts who are urgently calling for more effective family planning.

“The population challenge is the biggest threat facing Pakistan,” said Farid Midhet from the Safe Motherhood Pakistan Alliance. “Imagine a Pakistan with nearly 300 million people!”

For full article, visit:

Ethiopian Farmers Talk about Population Pressure

January 22nd, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | 1 Comment

Thanks to Kathleen Mogelgaard, Senior Program Manager for Population and Climate Change at Population Action International for this article from PAI’s blog.

“We farmers don’t have access to family planning and we are moving more and more into poverty.”

As the world focuses on the outcomes of the meeting on climate change that just concluded in Poznan, Poland, I am sitting in a workshop in Nazret, Ethiopia, listening to a panel of farmers talking about the effects of climate change on their lives – less rain, lower crop yields, malaria, no milk for their children. The farmers, from Amhara Region in the Rift Valley, talked about population pressure. They are acutely aware that farm sizes shrink with each generation and speak eloquently of the need for access to family planning so they can have fewer children. Rural Ethiopians currently have an average of six children.

For full article, visit:

Population and Family Planning Advice to Barack Obama

January 19th, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Greetings on this Martin Luther King holiday in the U.S. – a day of public service. I am attending a three day meeting on global sustainability issues on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia being hosted by Canadian environmentalist, David Suzuki.

Thanks to Tod Preston of Population Action International for the attached PAI “white paper” that details the reasons why the U.S. must regain its historic leadership role on international family planning and population issues. Entitled “International Population & Family Planning Programs: An Agenda for the Obama Administration,” the white paper highlights the significant role family planning and reproductive health programs should play in the Administration’s commitment to global health and security. The white paper has been sent to key members of the Obama transition team and to key Members of Congress, accompanied by the attached transmittal letter signed by some of PAI’s Board members. These documents are also available on the Obama transition team’s website at:

In addition, the documents — along with other relevant Obama transition-related material from other coalitions — are also available on PAI’s website at: http://www.populationaction.org/Issues/U.S._Policies_and_Funding/transition.shtml

Making the Case for U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

January 17th, 2009 by Chantelle Routhier | 1 Comment

Thanks to John Seager of Population Connection for the link to the just-released report, Making the Case for U.S. International Family Planning Assistance, coauthored by one of Population Connection’s board members, Dr. Duff Gillespie, along with four other former directors of the Population and Reproductive Health Program at USAID – all of whom who served in that position between 1978 and 2006.

This report will be extremely helpful in making the case to Congress and to the Obama Administration for increased funding for international family planning. See http://www.popconnect.org/media/upload/MakingtheCase.pdf?referralid=585&download=MakingtheCase.pdf

Obama will fund global family planning: US lawmaker

December 3rd, 2008 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

US president-elect Barack Obama will lift a freeze on funding for global family planning programs imposed by the outgoing administration, a US lawmaker said Wednesday.

“We are about to see major cultural change in Washington,” Democratic lawmaker Carolyn Maloney told reporters at the launch of the UN population agency’s (UNFPA) annual State of World Population report.

“One big change is that UNFPA will be funded,” added the congresswoman to applause.

For full article, visit: