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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Friday, April 27, 2018

Can't We Just Make Contraception Available to Everyone?

Yesterday at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America (PAA) in Denver, the PAA History Committee (which I chair in my role as PAA Historian) had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Amy Tsui, immediate Past President of the PAA. She is Professor of Population, Family and Reproductive Health in The Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is also the former Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive at John Hopkins. Her entire academic life has been devoted to the issue of reproductive health and seeking ways to help women meet their reproductive goals. This isn't just about family limitation, but includes delaying childbearing until circumstances are optimum for a birth, and ensuring the best health possible for pregnant women so that the odds are increased that the baby will be born in the best of health--attributes that her research shows will have long-term effects.

I was thinking about her life's work when I saw a link from Population Matters to a story indicating that Ghana is going to experiment with an expansion of family planning services within its National Health Insurance Scheme. [You can read a bit about the history of the NHIS in a paper published by three of my colleagues.]
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) would, from May 1, 2018, kick-start a pilot project to include family planning in its services in six selected municipalities and districts across the country for valid NHIS subscribers.
The introduction of family planning onto the scheme is in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service as part of efforts to reduce maternal and infant mortality, unwanted pregnancies and abortion among the youth, which mostly led to school dropouts and health complications.
Madam Stella Adu-Amankwah, the Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs Directorate, National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), said this at a community durbar [public meeting] on Family Planning practices at Kotintaabig in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region.
The durbar, organised by the District NHIS, was to sensitise community members on the importance of adopting and practising safe family planning methods, which ensures the growth and development of the child, the wellbeing of women and ultimately contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
This is only a pilot project, but with any luck the results will encourage the government to expand this quickly to the rest of the country. Dr. Tsui's research clearly shows that this kind of program will improve the lives of women, their children, and ultimately their communities and the entire society.

PS--the interview with Dr. Tsui will be posted online to the PAA website in a few weeks. I'll let you know when that happens.

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