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Causes of High Fertility 5
Cultural determinants of fertility 5
Migration and Refugee Issues 6
Agricultural Performance 7
Women\'s Time, and Their Role in Rural Production and Household Maintenance Systems 7
An Action Plan 8
Reducing Fertility Rates 8
Promoting Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture 8
Infrastructure Development and Settlement Policy 10
Slowing Population Growth 12
Africa\'s hopes for a better future depend in large part on improving the health of its people. Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing a period of extraordinary change. Across the continent, policy reforms are contributing to dynamic economic growth. Greater political openness has strengthened the commitment of African governments to meeting the basic needs of their people.
Despite these positive trends, sub-Saharan Africa faces a development challenge greater than any other region. Much of the continent\'s population remains desperately poor. With record numbers of adolescents entering their childbearing years, in less than three decades Africa\'s population is projected to double again from the current level of 620 million. Meanwhile, many African nations are struggling to provide health and education services to populations expanding at a small percent a year. In many countries, rapid population growth is contributing to degradation of the environment and undermining prospects for prosperity. Africa\'s hopes for a better future depend in large part on improving the health of its people. Better access to good quality reproductive health services, particularly family planning, is key to improving health status — especially for women. The reality of reproductive health in Africa, however, is far from ideal. Women begin child-bearing in their teens and have an average of six children.
Meanwhile, AIDS has struck hard in Sub-Saharan Africa, where roughly 1 in 10 adults
— both men and women — are infected with HIV. Yet traditional attitudes favoring large families are changing rapidly, owing to the growth of cities, the rising cost of living and lower child death rates, among other factors. Demand for family planning has increased dramatically in some countries, and the decline in birthrates ,limited as recently as a decade ago to only a few countries in the region, appears to be spreading steadily across the continent.
In much of Africa, however, large families are still the norm. This situation is reinforced by low levels of education, particularly among women, and social barriers to the full economic
participation of women. Yet, school enrollment rates declined or came to a standstill during the economic crisis many African countries experienced in the 1980s. Compared to countries in other developing regions, African countries have only recently begun to adopt population policies and initiate family planning and related reproductive health programs. However, African governments increasingly recognize the individual and societal benefits of smaller families. In the last decade there has been steady growth in the number of countries establishing national family planning programs and in the scope of these efforts.
Still, Sub-Saharan Africa has a long way to go. In addition to meeting the growing need for family planning and reproductive health services, African countries must expand access to education for girls and economic opportunities for women. This will require significantly increased financial contributions from African governments and house-holds, as well as international donors.
In sum, addressing poor reproductive health and rapid population growth is a daunting
task requiring comprehensive action on many different fronts. A priority area is population growth. This is a function of birth or fertility, mortality, and net migration.
Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind other regions in its demographic transition. The total fertility rate, the total number of children the average woman has in a lifetime. For Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has remained at about 6.5 for the past 25 years, while it has declined to about 4 in all developing countries taken together. Recent surveys appear to signal, however, that several counties, are at or near a critical demographic turning point.
Sub-Saharan Africa continues to maintain the highest total fertility rates in the world. The total fertility rate is the average number of children a women will bear during her reproductive years, usually between 15 and 49 years old, although some analysts have expanded this range to include 10 and 55 year old\'s. Families in the region average an estimated 6.4 children. Although there is considerable variation by region, socioeconomic status, and place of residence (rural vs. urban). Disease vectors are not solely responsible for low fertility rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some countries have made significant inroads in their
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Population, Demography, Demographic economics, Midwifery, Human overpopulation, Sub-Saharan Africa, Demographic transition, Family planning, Reproductive health, Population Action International, Poverty, Birth rate
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