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The Soviet question: as the new commonwealth rises from the ruins, will Western family planning assistance come to the rescue?
FAMILY PLANNING WORLD. 1992 Jan-Feb; 2(1):22-3, 25.Family planning in the old Soviet Union was administered through roughly 100 Family and Marriage Centers scattered across the hugh country. Unfortunately they only provided abortions and help for infertile couples, and not much else. The old Soviet government gave contraceptives a low priority and as a result they were only available as imports on the black market. The result is a lot of ignorance and misinformation about oral contraceptives, IUDs, and sexuality in general. The average Soviet women has 4-6 abortions in a life time. The USSR's infant mortality rate in 1991 was 23/1000. In 1988 its maternal mortality rate was 43/1000. The contraceptive prevalence rate in 1988 was 13.7%. There are some small, encouraging signs of change. The abortion rate fell 15.4% between 1975-1988 according to JOICFP. In 1989 the Soviet Family and Health Association (SFHA) was established in order to improve these horrible statistics. The biggest obstacle to the success of the SFHA is the political instability currently being experienced as the Commonwealth is being formed. The IPPF helped raise $14,000 dollars to purchase 15.5 million Malaysian condoms. UN aid is only in the form of technical assistance since the Commonwealth is considered a developed nation. This is the same problem currently facing the Eastern Block nations. The Commonwealth is really like 2 different countries in terms of its family planning needs. The states of the South and East have a population growth rate of 2.5% annually. While the states of the North and West have a population growth rate of 0.6%. Until political stability is achieved in the new Commonwealth, donor nations are going to be unwilling to offer a great deal of assistance. Ultimately the Commonwealth is going to have fund its own family planning system aided by the technical advice from the West.