This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

World Contraception Day--Only One Day?

The 26th of September each year is World Contraception Day. It is too bad, of course, that we have to do something like this to increase both awareness of and access to contraception. Just as we save lives by avoiding and getting rid of disease, we save lives of women and their children by allowing women the choice about when or if to have a baby. One of the lines of research on contraception is, of course, to devise ever easier-to-use methods, and methods that, frankly, do not depend upon men, as Melissa Pandika has noted:
The male condom is king when it comes to effective sexual protection. Used correctly, it prevents sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy alike. But there’s a big problem, especially for women in the developing world: Men often refuse to wear them.

Women in the highest-risk populations don’t always have the capacity to successfully negotiate condom use.That’s why a new generation of so-called multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) could spark a revolution. They would prevent pregnancy and STIs, and be largely in the control of women. MPTs could take various forms: a diaphragm sold together with an HIV prevention gel, an intravaginal ring that releases both pregnancy-preventing hormones and HIV-blocking drugs, and more.
Getting effective and cheap contraceptives in the hands of women is a key ingredient in ensuring that the UN Population Division's latest projections about higher-than-expected global population increase don't turn out to be true. And, if you want know more about the current situation with respect to family planning in the world, the UN Population Division has lots of resources:
World Contraceptive Use 2014
Contraceptive prevalence and unmet need for family planning are key indicators for measuring improvements in access to reproductive health. The data set World Contraceptive Use 2014 includes country data as of March 2014 from more than 1,000 surveys on contraceptive prevalence among
married or in-union women for 194 countries or areas of the world. Survey data on unmet need for family planning are included for 133 countries or areas of the world.
Model-based Estimates and Projections of Family Planning Indicators 2014
The Population Division produces a systematic and comprehensive series of annual, model-based estimates and projections of family planning indicators among married or in-union women for the period from 1970 to 2030. Median estimates with 80 per cent and 95 per cent uncertainty intervals are provided for 194 countries or areas of the world and for regions and development groups. A Bayesian hierarchical model combined with country-specific time trends was used to generate the estimates, projections and uncertainty assessments. The model advances prior work and accounts for differences by data source, sample population, and contraceptive methods included in measures of prevalence. The estimates and projections are based on the country-specific data compiled in World Contraceptive Use 2014. Model results are as of April 2014.

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