News / Africa

    International Conference Highlights Family Planning in Senegal

    Nick Loomis

    With the global population reaching 7 billion this year, doctors and health officials are advocating better family planning methods. Senegal, where some 2,000 international delegates gathered in early December to tackle the issues.

    On a busy day at the Fith Mith Clinic in a suburb of Guédiawaye, just outside of Dakar, Mamy Diop had just given birth to her third child, only one year and three months after the previous. She did not know about family planning before, but she does now.

    "I just decided to take birth spacing measures and will ask soon about which method I should use," she said.

    Family Planning is an emerging and somewhat controversial topic in Senegal where more than 2,000 participants met in early December for the International Conference on Family Planning. Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade highlighted the dilemma his country faces.

    "To survive, it is good to limit the number of children, but this should, again, be a decision made completely voluntarily," he said. "We are consequently believers, and we cannot impose contraceptive methods, methods which prevent procreation.”

    But more and more, families are seeking contraception to space or limit births despite the associated taboos in the country, which is more than 90 percent Muslim.

    "Some people say Islam is against family planning, but life is getting more and more difficult," said Mamy Diop.

    Historically, the only acceptable application of family planning has been birth spacing for the health of the mother and the child.  But religious leaders increasingly are invoking the Quran's message of financial responsibility.

    "Islam has discussed this," said Imam Niasse. "If resources are limited and the family size is too large, there will be problems for the family.  We are already living a situation of scarcity and we should talk openly.  We have many children here, but what kind of children do we have?"

    Many Muslim scholars say that, barring abortion, the faithful can use many types of birth control - but only if it is critical for the sake of the mother or the family's finances.  If both are healthy, the consensus is that parents should continue to reproduce. If not, families have many choices.

    "This is the intrauterine device, this the cycle necklace, these are injectables, this is the feminine condom, the pills, there are implants, plus the male condom," said nurse Mariama Baye.

    Mariama Baye is the head nurse and midwife at the Fith Mith Clinic. She says none of those methods cost more than $1 per month and demand is on the rise despite persistent social obstacles.

    "With our efforts and discussions in the neighborhoods, women now understand what birth spacing is and they want to come," she said. "When we say birth limitation, they don't listen. So we say birth spacing. With birth spacing, I hope the final goal will be the limitation of births.”

    The clinic participates in an urban family planning project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and coordinated by Intrahealth, a private American organization that supports health workers throughout the world. Pape Gaye is the Intrahealth's CEO and a native of Senegal.

    "We've seen way too many people in the streets, way too many people who are not going to school, way too many poor people, which is part of refusing to control population," said Pape Gaye.

    Gaye says family planning results in Senegal do not match the large investments made in the country.  He says just 12.3 percent of the population use contraception, only marginally higher than five years ago.  Yet, he hopes the recent conference and the president's remarks will further open dialogue and accelerate results.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora