Another lesson unlearned: access to family planning in Niger

Gidi V
Samuel Loewenberg provides a vivid description of increasing hunger in Niger (Aug 21, p 579), but gives insufficient emphasis to the imperative to increase access to voluntary family planning. Niger has a total fertility rate of 7·4, 49% of the population is younger than 15 years, and the current population of 15·9 million is projected to grow to between 52 and 64 million by 2050, making it the second most populous country in Africa. Only 15% of women enter primary school, and only one in ten uses any form of contraception. The total fertility rate of 3·3 assumed in “low” population projections...

Niger: Too Little, Too Late

Malcolm Potts
Martha Campbell
Sarah Zureick
Virginia Gidi

Niger—with the world’s fastest growing population, its highest total fertility rate (TFR), a small and diminishing amount of arable land, low annual rainfall, a high level of malnutrition, extremely low levels of education, gross gen- der inequities and an uncertain future in the face of climate change—is the most extreme example of a catastrophe that is likely to overtake the Sahel. The policies chosen by Niger’s government and the international community to reduce rapid population growth and the speed with which they are implemented are of the utmost importance. In this comment, we...

Crisis in the Sahel: Possible Solutions and the Consequences of Inaction

Malcolm Potts
Eliya Zulu
Michael Wehner
Federico Castillo
Courtney Henderson

The following report documents how, over the next 30 to 40 years in parts of sub- Saharan Africa, between 100 million and 200 million people are likely to be without sustainable food supplies. This was the conclusion of a multidisciplinary group of experts from Africa and North America, who asked what will happen in the Sahel when new projections of global warming are combined with rapid population growth. The meeting was not the first on the Sahel, but the breadth of expertise in agriculture, climatology, demography, family planning, the status of women, terrorism, and national security...

Why Bold Policies for Family Planning are Needed Now

Malcolm Potts
Rachel Weinrib
Martha Campbell

Last spring at a Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) talk in Berlin, Melinda Gates used this phrase, “The most transformative thing you can do is to give people access to birth control.” She expressed similar sentiments at the London Summit on Family Planning on July 11, 2012, as did the British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Andrew Mitchell who was then Secretary of State for the Department for International Development, the British equivalent of United States Agency for International Development. The London Summit represented a new focus on international family planning after...