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    024816

    Family planning and health: an evaluation.

    Pomeroy R

    Planned Parenthood Review. 1984 Spring-Summer; 4(1):9-10.

    The Planned Parenthood Federation of America supports international family planning efforts through its affiliation with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the activities of its own International Division, Family Planning International Assistance (FPIA). FPIA is founded on the beliefs that family planning is a basic human right; family planning programs benefit individuals, families, communities, and nations; and family planning along with other needed socieconomic programs can have a major impact on development. Careful timing, spacing, and limiting of births is directly and causally related to improved infant and maternal survival through readily observed and easily explained mechanisms. Mothers in developing countries are anywhere from 10 to 20 or 30 times as likely to die in childbirth as mothers in developed countries. Risks are greatest for mothers under 18 years old, over 30, for those having births within 2 years of a previous birth, and 4th or later deliveries. The differences occur for women at all levels of affluence and access to medical care in all societies, but are particularly sharp in developing countries. Among the poorest countries, 200 or more of every 1000 liveborn infants may die in their 1st year compared to fewer than 10/1000 live births in some wealthy egalitarian countries. The infant mortality rate is so closely related to the overall level of well-being in a country or region that it is regarded as 1 of the most revealing measures of how well a society is meeting the needs of its people. Many of the risk factors for maternal mortality also contribute to infant mortality. Infant mortality in developing countries drops appreciably when women practice family planning and reduce the number of high risk pregnancies. Throughout the developing world, the higher risk infants born to very young or older mothers, mothers with recent previous pregnancies, and mothers with 3 or 4 previous births are 3-10 times more likely to die in their 1st year. Too short birth intervals may threaten the life of the older child through early weaning and resulting increased susceptibility to malnutrition and infection. Careful planning of births through contraception can result in a population better able to contribute economically and less likely to strain the medical resources.
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