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Reproductive health in a world of 7 billion people

Annalisa Rosso

In 2011, the world population has reached 7 billion, resulting in an increase in inequality and a higher risk of poverty, reproductive health and family planning must become priority on the development agenda and overall health.

2011 will be remembered, among other things, as the year in which the world's population has reached 7 billion people.

According to estimates by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UNDESA) settemiliardesimo the inhabitant of the planet would be born on October 31, 2011 [ 1 ]. Symbolically, it was Danica May Camacho, born at midnight of October 31 in Manila, Philippines [ 2 ].

Although women have fewer children on average today compared to the 60s of the last century (fertility has declined from a rate of 6 to 2.5 children per woman), the world population has continued to grow continuously in recent decades and currently is the oldest, but at the same time also the youngest ever.
The enlargement of the demographic pyramid in favor of the older and younger age groups the world's population is due to two factors:

  • improvement in life expectancy at birth, which increased from 48 years in the early 50s of the last century to 68 in 2011;
  • the drastic reduction in infant mortality rate decreased from 133/1000 registered in the 50s to 46/1000 in the period 2005-2010.

From some points of view, the growth of the world population can therefore be considered a success, especially considering the progress made in improving the life expectancy at birth. But population growth has taken place unevenly within the planet, increasing the existing economic and social inequalities, rather than helping to reduce them. And, unfortunately, the growth projections do not indicate a change in trend.
The number of inhabitants of the planet will continue, in fact, to grow in the coming decades, reaching, according to forecasts UNFPA [ 3 ], share 9.3 billion in 2050 and surpassing the 10 billion people in 2100.
Projections indicate that 90% of future population growth will occur in developing countries, entailing the risk of an increase in poverty, and competition for access to scarce resources in these countries, including access to health services.
Asia will remain the most populated area in the world during the 21th century, but most of the population growth will occur in Africa, whose population will triple by 2100, reaching 3.6 billion people. Only by 2015 growth is expected to average 2.4% in Sub-Saharan Africa, whose summit stands the Niger, where it is estimated an increase in the internal population of 3.5% in the coming years.

As pointed out in an editorial published in The Lancet [ 4 ] in October 2011, although estimates of the International Monetary Fund providing for GDP growth in 2012 of 5.8% in Sub-Saharan Africa, many countries in the region investments in health do not go hand in hand with economic growth (see also the post Investing in Africa: from rhetoric to liability ).
For these countries the population growth is therefore an obstacle to social and economic development. It is very likely that the sub-Saharan region will not see the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, as planned, and it is significant that the objective for which they have been achieved less progress is precisely the number 5-improving maternal health (and more generally, of the woman).

2010-12-29 11:20:15 by stablepopulation

Global Population Speak Out

The size and growth of the planet’s human population are fundamental drivers of the ecological crisis facing us – no less crucial than overproduction and consumption in developed nations. Almost all environmental problems, from biodiversity loss to climate change, are traceable to the interplay of all these factors.
To mitigate this global tragedy, changes in our consumption habits are indispensable. But, so are investments in voluntary family planning and reproductive health. Giving couples everywhere the ability to prevent unplanned pregnancies is critical for the health and well-being of women, their children, their communities and the planet

2008-10-07 08:15:27 by Helen_Back

US foreign health assistance linked to theology

The US has cut funding for condoms in Marie Stopes' African clinics. In 2007 MSI provided 129 million condoms. Since 2001, "The Global Gag" has blocked birth control access at every turn.

These US policies hit health aid in Africa. Research shows the gag rule is eroding family planning and reproductive health services in developing countries.


"Global Gag Rule" extended. The Mexico City Policy now applies to AIDS relief: the U.S. has linked $193 million in AIDS grants to Kenya, where illegal abortions are a leading killer of married women in their 20s and 30s, by forbidding funding or information about abortion services.

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