Why family planning matters for maternal deaths and child survival

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Family planning improves child survival and reduces maternal deaths. But the uptake of family planning in Africa is only 33%, nearly half the world average of 64%. The contraceptive prevalence rate in African countries is considerably low despite an increase in demand.

Niger has one of the highest fertility rates globally. Women of reproductive age have, on average, eight children. Niger has a maternal mortality ratio of 553 per 100,000 live births and an under five mortality rate of 104 per 1000 live births. Mauritius has the lowest child mortality rate in Africa at 12 per 1,000 live births.

In Niger 13% of children under five years die from various illnesses. The country is one of the top five that account for half of these deaths in the world.

The low provision of family planning across sub-Saharan Africa is cited as one of the main reasons for the region’s high maternal mortality rates. A lack of family planning leads to unintended pregnancies and often means that women deliver their babies with very low skilled assistance. This in turn pushes up the rate of newborn deaths.

Access to family planning services, particularly in developing countries, should be improved.

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