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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora