Family planning in Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
West Africa has one of the most rapidly growing populations in the world, and on average, women here have 5.7 births during their lifetimes. The 16 countries in this region represent a variety of cultural and historic backgrounds. Their residents may speak French, English, or Portuguese, in addition to one or more indigenous languages. These countries have different health systems, levels of political commitment to family planning, and numbers and types of health care providers-all of which can contribute to differences in family planning use. In West Africa, approximately 13 percent of married women use some form of family planning. Hormonal contraceptives, including the pill and injections, are the most commonly used methods. Traditional family planning methods, including periodic abstinence and withdrawal, are in second place. In addition to those women using family planning, approximately 23 percent indicate that they would like to avoid become pregnant in the near future, but are not using a family planning method. In West Africa, the wealthier a woman is, the more likely she is to use family planning. These findings, which were presented in the first article in this series, "Family Planning in West Africa," provide insight into the region as a whole. Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Mali illustrate the richness that can be found when regional numbers are teased apart. Tables included: 1) Percent of married women who use family planning by method; 2) Total demand for family planning; and 3) Contraceptive use by wealth group. (excerpt)