Keeping pace with population growth
By Vladimíra Kantorová, Ann Biddlecom, Holly Newby
July 11 marks World Population Day, calling attention to the crucial part that population growth plays in meeting the health needs of a global population projected to reach 7·3 billion people in 2015 when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end.1 The region of sub-Saharan Africa faces particular challenges, where the population is projected to nearly double from 510 million people in 1990 to 989 million in 2015, driven mainly by high fertility and large cohorts of women of reproductive age.
When compared to other regions, sub-Saharan Africa is often described as lagging behind in terms of MDG progress on reproductive health. Looking at the absolute numbers of people reached, however, reveals unrecognised efforts made by countries in the region. For example, the percentage of women who received at least four antenatal care visits during pregnancy from skilled health personnel increased minimally over the past two decades, from 48% in 1990 to 50% in 2012 (figure).2 However, the estimated number of births for which mothers had received four antenatal visits increased by 61%. Moderate progress in increasing coverage of skilled attendance at birth (from 40% in 1990 to 53% in 2012) also masks a substantial increase in the absolute number of births attended by a skilled health provider, doubling from an estimated 9 million births in 1990 to 18 million births in 2012.
Current World Population
Net Growth During Your Visit