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Women And Girls in Poor Countries are Using Contraceptives More: Report

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni insists Africa needs more people, and has lambasted what he calls "the shrill cries of NGOs about population control."

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family planning, women, men
Health worker Sylvia Marettah Katende displays reproductive health products and information at a family planning exhibition in Kampala, Uganda. VOA

More women and girls in poor countries are using modern contraception, signifying progress in efforts to involve women in family planning, according to a report released Monday.

The number of women and girls using contraceptives in 69 of the world’s poorest countries surpassed 317 million in 2018, representing 46 million more users than in 2012, said the report by Family Planning 2020, a U.N.-backed global advocacy group working to promote rights-based family planning.

Access to modern contraception helped prevent over 119 million unintended pregnancies and averted 20 million unsafe abortions between July 2017 and July 2018, although populations continue to soar across Africa and other low-income countries, the report said.

women
Contraceptives, Wikimedia commons

“The best way to overcome this challenge of rapid population growth is by giving women and girls [the] opportunity to decide how many children they want to have,” Beth Schlachter, executive director of Family Planning 2020, told The Associated Press.

The mix of contraceptive methods has improved significantly in 20 of the surveyed countries, “meaning that more women are able to find the short-term, long-acting, emergency, or permanent method that suits their needs and preferences,” the report said.

But even as millions of poor women use contraceptives, millions more who want to delay or prevent pregnancy are still unable to access it, often due to lack of information, the report said, citing perceived health side-effects and social disapproval as deterrents.

Reproductive Rights, abortion, women
A community health worker holds up contraceptives during a lecture on family planning at a reproductive health clinic run by an NGO in Tondo city, metro Manila. VOA

Under Family Planning 2020, which grew out of a summit on family planning held in London in 2012, donors have pledged millions of dollars to bring contraception to 120 million more women and girls in developing countries by the year 2020.

Many of the 69 countries surveyed for the report are in sub-Saharan Africa, which is witnessing a population boom even as other parts of the world see dropping birth rates. Over half of the global population growth between now and 2050 will take place in Africa, according to U.N. figures.

According to the new report, contraceptive use is growing fastest in Africa, even though the region’s fertility rates remain high.

The most recent U.N. global population report estimates Africa’s fertility rate to be 5.1 births per woman.

women
DMAU is a major step forward in the development of a once-daily ‘male pill

Because the region’s growing population is not backed by substantial rises in family incomes and the development of public infrastructure, there are concerns that a population boom may deepen poverty levels for many Africans.

Over the years, family planning has often been difficult to sell in heavily paternalistic sub-Saharan Africa, with the matter becoming controversial as some African leaders challenge the view that a growing population is bad for the world’s poorest continent.

Also Read: A New Step Towards Contraception for Men

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni insists Africa needs more people, and has lambasted what he calls “the shrill cries of NGOs about population control.”

In February, President John Magufuli of Tanzania encouraged polygamy, citing the 10 million more women than men in his country in advising men to marry “two or more wives” to reduce the number of single women. (VOA)

Next Story

New Reusable Device Which can Help Women with Breast Cancer in Lower-Income Countries

Innovation in cancer care doesn't always mean that you have to create an entirely new treatment

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Breast Cancer, Device, Women
According to the study published in the journal PLOS One, the research team wanted to create a tissue-freezing tool that uses carbon dioxide. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a new reusable device which can help women with breast cancer in lower-income countries by using carbon dioxide, a widely available and affordable gas, to power a cancer tissue-freezing probe instead of industry-standard argon.

According to the study published in the journal PLOS One, the research team wanted to create a tissue-freezing tool that uses carbon dioxide, which is already widely available in most rural areas thanks to the popularity of carbonated drinks.

“Innovation in cancer care doesn’t always mean that you have to create an entirely new treatment. Sometimes it means radically innovating on proven therapies such that they’re redesigned to be accessible to the majority of the world’s population,” said the study’s first author Bailey Surtees from the Johns Hopkins University.

For the study, the research team tested their tool in three experiments to ensure it could remain cold enough in conditions similar to the human breast and successfully kill tumour tissues.

Breast Cancer, Device, Women
Researchers have developed a new reusable device which can help women with breast cancer in lower-income countries by using carbon dioxide. Pixabay

In the first experiment, the team used the tool on jars of ultrasound gel, which thermodynamically mimics human breast tissue, to determine whether it could successfully reach standard freezing temperatures killing tissues and form consistent iceballs.

In all the trials, the device formed large enough iceballs and reached temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius, which meets standard freezing temperatures for tissue death for similar devices in the United States.

For the second experiment, the team treated 9 rats with 10 mammary tumours. Afterwards, they looked at the tissues under a microscope and confirmed that the tool successfully killed 85 per cent or more tissues for all tumours.

Finally, the team tested the tool’s ability to reach temperatures cold enough for tissue destruction in the normal liver of a pig, which has a temperature similar to a human breast.

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The device was successfully able to stay cold enough during the entire experiment to kill the target tissue. (IANS)