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[Population and development in the Republic of Zaire: policies and programs] Population et developpement en Republique du Zaire: politiques et programmes.
[Unpublished] 1986. Presented at the All-Africa Parliamentary Conference on Population and Development, Harare, Zimbabwe, May 12-16, 1986. 9 p.The 1st census of Zaire, in July 1984, indicated that the population of 30 million was growing at a rate of at least 2.3%/year. The crude birth rate was estimated at 46/1000 and was believed to be higher in urban areas than in rural because of better health and educational conditions. The crude death rate was estimated at 16/1000 and the infant mortality rate at 106/1000. 46.5% of the population is under 15. The population is projected to reach 34.5 million in 1990, with urban areas growing more rapidly than rural. Zaire is at the stage of demographic transition where the gap between fertility and mortality is very wide. The consequences for national development include massive migration and rural exodus, unemployment and underemployment, illness, low educational levels, rapid urbanization, and increasing poverty. In the past decade, Zaire has undertaken a number of activities intended to improve living conditions, but as yet there is no explicit official policy integrating population and development objectives. In 1983, the Executive Council of Zaire organized a mission to identify basic needs of the population, with the assistance of the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA). In 1985, the UNFPA developed a 5-year development plan. The UNFPA activities include demographic data collection, demographic policy and research, maternal-child health and family planning, population education, and women and development. In the area of data collection, the 1st census undertaken with UNFPA help has increased the availability of timely and reliable demographic data. The vital registration system is to be improved and a permanent population register to be developed to provide data on population movement. A National Population Committee is soon to be established to assist the Executive Council in defining a coherent population policy in harmony with the economic, social, and cultural conditions of Zaire. Demographic research will be conducted by the Demographic Department of the University of Kinshasa and the National Institute of Statistics. A primary health care policy has been defined to increase health coverage to 60% from the current level of 20%. Zaire has favored family planning services integrated with the primary health care system since 1979. At present 2 components of the Desirable Births" program are underway, the Desirable Births Service Project undertaken in 1983 and the Rural Health Project undertaken in 1982, both executed by the Department of Public Health with financing provided by US Agency for International Development. The RAPID (Resources for the Analysis of the Impact of Population on Development) program has been used since 1985 to inform politicians, technicians, and planners. Efforts have been underway since 1965 to include women in the development process, and a new family code is being studied which would give better protection to some rights of women and children.