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New York, UNFPA, 1981 Oct. 59 p. (Report No 44)The findings of the Mission that visited the Republic of the Gambia during October 1978 and from August 27th to September 5th, 1980 for the purpose of assessing the need for population assistance are presented in this report. Information is provided on the following: the national setting (geographical and governmental features; demographic, social, and economic characteristics of the population; and population policy and development planning); basic population data (censuses and surveys, vital statistics and civil registration, other data collection activities, and needs); population policy formulation (population growth and distribution, integration of population factors into development plans, and structures for policy formulation; and implementing population policies (programs designed to affect fertility, mortality, and morbidity; programs affecting the distribution of the population; information, education, and communication programs; and women's programs); and external assistance (multilateral and bilateral assistance and nongovernmental organization assistance). Mission recommendations are both summarized and presented in detail. The total population of the country is 597,000, and the population growth rate between 1963-1973 was an estimated 2.8%. The crude birth rate is 49-50/1000 and the total estimated fertility rate is an average of 6.4 live births/woman over her reproductive life span. Both population density and urban growth are serious concerns. Internal and international migration are influencing the population distribution, although data regarding migration are limited. The economy is primarily agricultural. Gambia had no formal population policy until 1979. The current population is based on the guiding principles that population policy should be considered part of rural development and that the goal of self-reliance should be pursued. Improved management, administration, logistics, transport, and supervision to support the existing and all future health care service systems of the country are critical needs. Training is needed for various categories of health personnel.