Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Family planning in Rwanda

Interesting proposal out of Africa, meanwhile. Apparently, Rwanda's government wants to take solid family planning steps. There hasn't been a lot of progress in Africa on this issue, anywhere, but if progress will be made anywhere, Rwanda seems a good case.

Rwanda and its neighbor Burundi are two of the world's most densely populated countries, and farms are increasingly small as families divide them up each generation. Meanwhile, Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, is a ruthless modernizer who reminds me somewhat of a hardcore corporate CEO--no dissent, modernization, progress; for example, an embrace of modern business methods and Internet technology. The Church will apparently not oppose the plan, lacking moral standing as many of the clergy collaborated in the 1994 genocide.

The plan seems to involve free distribution of birth control (including Norplant) and mandating family planning counseling whenever anyone goes to a hospital (though I can see the pep talk getting old pretty quick). The BBC reports that the country wants to require three children or less, but I don't see that echoed elsewhere.

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