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[Unpublished] 1984 May 8. 31 p. (CE 92/12)This report shows how demographic information can be analyzed and used to identify and characterize the groups assigned priority in the Regional Plan of Action and that it is necessary for the improvement of the planning and allocation of health resources so that national health plans can be adapted to encompass the entire population. In discussing the connections between health and population characteristics in the countries of the region, the report covers mortality, fertility and health, and fertility and population increase; spatial distribution and migration; and the structure of the population. Focus then moves on to health, development, and population policies and family planning. The final section of the report considers the response of the health sector to population trends and characteristics and to development-related factors. The operations of the health sector must be revised in keeping with the observed demographic situation and the projections thereof so that the goal of health for all by the year 2000 may be realized. In several countries of the region mortality remains high. In 1/3 of them, infant mortality during the period 1980-85 exceeds 60/1000 live births. If measures are not taken to reduce mortality 55% of the population of Latin America in the year 2000 will still be living in countries with life expectancies at birth of under 70 years. According to the projections, in the year 2000 the birthrate will stand at around 29/1000, with wide differences between the countries of the region, within each of them, and between socioeconomic strata. High fertility will remain a factor hostile to the health of women and children and a determinant of rapid population growth. Some governments view the present or predicted growth rates as excessive; others want to increase them; and some take no explicit position on the matter. The countries would be well advised to assign values to their birthrate, natural increase, and periods for doubling their populations in relation to their development plans and to the prospects for improving the standard of living and health of their populations. An important factor in urban growth is internal migration. These migrants, like some of those who move to other countries, may have health problems requiring special care. Regardless of a country's demographic situation, the health sector has certain responsibilities, including: the need to promote the framing and adoption of population and development policies, in whose implementation the importance of health measures is not open to question; and the need to favor the intersector coordination and articulation required to ensure that population aspects are considered in national development planning.
[Unpublished] 1986. Presented at the All-Africa Parliamentary Conference on Population and Development, Harare, Zimbabwe, May 12-16, 1986. 7 p.The Second African Conference on Population and Development, held early in 1984, marked a decisive stage in African thinking about population. During the 12 years between the 1972 and 1984 conferences, African nations learned in detail about their demographic situation and confronted the ever-increasing costs of development and their lack of physical and administrative infrastructure. In the midst of these and other concerns came the drought, which for over a decade in some parts of the continent has reduced rainfall, dried up rivers, lakes, and wells, and forced millions into flight. It is in this context that population became an African issue. African countries on the whole are not densely populated nor do they yet have very large concentrations in cities. Yet, population emerges as more than a matter of numbers, and there are features which give governments cause for concern. First, the population of most African countries, and of the continent as a whole, is growing rapidly and could double itself in under 25 years. Second, mortality among mothers and children is very high. Third, life expectancy generally is lower in African than in other developing countries. Fourth, urbanization is sufficiently rapid to put more than half of Africa in cities by 2020 and 1/3 of the urban population in giant cities of over 4 million people. The 1984 conference recognized these and other uncomfortable facts and their implications for the future, and agreed that attention to population was an essential part of African development strategy. Strategy is considered in terms of the 4 issues mentioned. First, high rates of growth are not in themselves a problem, but they mean a very high proportion of dependent children in the population. About 45% of Africa's population is under age 14 and will remain at this level until the early years of the 21st century. Meeting the needs of so many children and young adults taxes the ability of every African nation, regardless of how rapidly its economy may expand. Understanding this, a growing number of African leaders call for slower growth in order to achieve a balance in the future between population and the resources available for development. Reducing mortality requires innovation. Among the new approaches to health care are the use of traditional medicine and practitioners in conjunction with modern science and the mobilization of community groups for preventive care and self-help. Health care and better nutrition also are keys to improvement in life expectancy and call for ingenuity and innovation on the part of African governments and communities. Part of the solution to the impending urban crisis must be attention to the viability of the rural sector. The role of the UN Fund for Population Activities in addressing the identified issues is reviewed.