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    Overpopulation and death in childhood [letter].

    Jolly R

    Lancet. 1990 Oct 13; 336(8720):936.

    This article rebuts Dr. King's statement in the Lancet that a precondition to lowering birth rates is reducing child death rates in developing countries. UNICEF's position since the 1980's has been that child spacing through family planning (FP) is a direct way of lowering child mortality and an indirect way of lowering fertility but FP is not a precondition to reducing child mortality. UNICEF has stressed in its Child Summit publication that the synergy between child survival interventions and FP can help accelerate population stabilization rather than either of them working alone. UNICEF has stressed that by encouraging female literacy, MCH/FP and breastfeeding that the misconception of child mortality increasing population growth rates can be curtailed. It is more reasonable to argue that when women are empowered and have better control over their livers, they will choose FP to space their children, than to state that FP methods alone are a necessary and sufficient condition for lowering fertility. A major point made at the World Summit of Children in September 1990 was the need to reinforce child survival and FP "to reduce morality and fertility rates and contribute more to lowering rates of population growth than either type of activity alone." With the know-how and technology now available, UNICEF finds it ethically and morally necessary for countries to pursue child survival and FP at the same time. The cost of such investments are low compared to military expenditures but require vision and commitment from political leaders.
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