A Survey On The Significance Of Family Planning As A Tools For Controlling Population

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Project and Seminar Material for Education


The rate at which the world population is growing creates a great concern to the international community. It is this reason that the United Nations held a number of conferences to discuss the means to control world population growth. The most influential conference was the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo; the conference reached an agreement on the urgent need to control global population growth. Among others, the 20 year ICPD Program of Action declared family planning use as one of the critical approaches to be initiated by United Nations member states as a way of regulating world population.

Different member states were urged to promote and make access to family planning a priority for the purpose of regulating world population growth. As such, the research seeks to appraise the use of family planning in Nigeria; the research work is driven by the motive to examine the significance of family planning as a means of and patterns of controlling population growth in the continent.

It is strongly argued in this research that, in order for Nigeria to successfully achieve the ICPD goal of slowed population growth, access to family planning needs to be critically looked at, as it remains the intermediate factor in the possibility of slowed population growth in the country and the world at large. The research concludes by recommending a total government commitment in the promotion of reproductive rights through making family planning services accessible for all in need.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

The world population has been growing extremely since the 1960’s to reach close to 7 billion today; again future medium projections show that the world will pass 8 billion in 2023, 9 billion in 2041 and 10 billion after 2081 given current birth and death patterns continue to prevail. It is this pattern coupled with its negative impacts that has led to many concluding that the world is overpopulated. The term over population is defined as a condition of having too many people on earth than the earth can sustain in harmony without jeopardizing its ability to sustain future generations. This overpopulation results from death rates which can no longer keep pace with birth rates leading in to surplus births.

The continued surplus of births leads to population growth and thus remains the principal determinant of future world population. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, a constant population was sustained by death rates which were equivalent to birth rates creating a stable population. However while death rates have dramatically increased in the recent decades due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, natural catastrophes and curable communicable diseases in most of the least developed countries, world fertility still continues to outstrip the high number of world death rates. This condition simply means the power of fertility is the major influential factor to the world population size.

While programs and policies aimed at controlling population growth are still in place, the current annual growth rate continues to be extremely large and projections on future world population remain a great concern at the international level. According to the 2010 revision of world population prospects, the total population is likely to reach 10.1 billion by the end of the century. While all regions of the world have a significant contribution on the state of world population, the speedy pattern of population growth is mostly accounted for by developing regions such as Asia and Africa. Their greater impact on population growth stems from their fertility or birth patterns. The higher fertility rates in these developing regions contribute significantly to world surplus births which consequently results in population growth.

Due to the alarming growth pattern in world population, the United Nations has held a number of population conferences to debate about the means to reduce population growth. The major population conference (International Conference on Population and Development) was held in 1994 in Cairo. Constituents of the conference were rooted on the believe that population growth limits every nation’s ability to improve living standards. As a solution to the problem, the ICPD Programme of Action endorsed a new strategy which emphasizes integral linkages between population and development and meeting the needs of individual women. A key element to this new approach is women empowerment through expanded access to education, health services, reproductive health, skills development, employment and through their full involvement in decision making processes at all levels.

Fundamental to the ICPD’s commitments to women empowerment is the greater recognition of reproductive rights which are already recognized in national laws and other widely adhered to international treaties and declarations. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number of, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. The ICPD programme of Action calls upon nations to strive in making reproductive health accessible through primary health care system to all individuals of appropriate ages in no later than 2015.

The African situation simply reflects challenges within family planning programs; this is further shown by the high rates of unsafe abortions practiced by young and adult women each year. Access to family planning becomes even more critical due to the increased sexual relations among adolescents in the contemporary world. Given the situation, the paper aims to appraise family planning use in the African continent. Moreover the paper is rooted on the motive to assess the impact of family planning use in controlling population growth in Africa. Due to current and unfavourable future projections on population size, the paper strongly argues that in order for African governments to succeed in slowing population growth, access to family planning should remain a priority of all African countries.

The paper asserts that many young and adult women in developing countries do have strong desires for child spacing, small families and preventing unwanted births, but they are unable to successfully meet their needs due to problems in accessing family planning services. In many contexts the majority of couples are left with no choice but to continue having unwanted pregnancies. While acknowledging that access is not the only remedy, making family planning accessible to all will, as it has in developed countries, contribute significantly in slowing population growth of Africa through reduced fertility.

1.1 Background Of Study

Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and management, and infertility management.

Family planning is sometimes used as a synonym or euphemism for the use of birth control, however, it often includes a wide variety of methods, and practices that are not birth control. It is most usually applied to a female-male couple who wish to limit the number of children they have and/or to control the timing of pregnancy (also known as spacing children). Family planning may encompass sterilization, as well as abortion.

Family planning services are defined as “educational, comprehensive medical or social activities which enable individuals, including minors, to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved

The “population growth rate” is the rate at which the number of individuals in a population increases in a given time period, expressed as a fraction of the initial population. Specifically, population growth rate refers to the change in population over a unit time period, often expressed as a percentage of the number of individuals in the population at the beginning of that period. This can be written as the formula, valid for a sufficiently small time interval:

Nigeria has experienced a population explosion for at least the last 50 years due to very high fertility rates, quadrupling its population during this time. Growth was fastest in the 1980s, after child mortality had dropped sharply, and has slowed slightly since then as the birth rate has sunk slightly. According to the 2012 revison of the World Population Prospects the total population was 159,708,000 in 2010, compared to only 37,860,000 in 1950. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 44.0%, 53.2% was between 15 and 65 years of age, while 2.7% was 65 years or older.

A positive growth rate indicates that the population is increasing, while a negative growth rate indicates that the population is decreasing. A growth ratio of zero indicates that there were the same number of individuals at the beginning and end of the period—a growth rate may be zero even when there are significant changes in the birth rates, death rates, immigration rates, and age distribution between the two times

1.2 Statement Of Problem

Overpopulation as an undesirable condition with a human population exceeds the carrying capacity of an area or location, as caused by number of factors. Reduced mortality rate, better medical facilities, depletion of precious resources. Has affected the lives of many and has caused unhealthy condition among the people and quick access to facilities and low resources to able to sustain life, this then draw the attention of the researcher to embark on this study and highlight a means to which overpopulation can be resolved which family planning was chosen for this study.

A Survey On The Significance Of Family Planning As A Tools For Controlling Population

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