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Family Planning Module: Introduction

Introduction to the Family Planning Module

In 1900, the world population was estimated to be about 1.7 billion. By 1999, it had risen to 6 billion (WHO estimate). Currently, 80% of the world population resides in less developed countries and this figure will rise to 90% by 2050.

Ethiopia leads sub-Saharan Africa with one of the highest population sizes in Africa. During the second Ethio-Italian war (1935–1941), the population size of Ethiopia was estimated to be only about 15 million people; 45 years later it had reached 41 million (1984 national census). The current Ethiopian population size in 2010 is 76 million and increasing by more than 2 million people annually. If the current rate of natural increment continues, the population size is estimated to double every 23 years.

Taking into account this rapid population growth, the Government of Ethiopia approved the National Population Policy in 1993. Their rationale in formulating and approving this policy was to harmonise the rate of population growth in parallel with socio-economic development. In the last decade, in our country, we have seen ongoing economic development, a factor which has been applauded by both local and international observers. However, this achievement in economic growth is far outstripped by the alarming increase in population. What this implies is that the objectives of the National Population Policy have not yet been met. Therefore, family planning and the family planning service have a huge contribution to make in fostering the economic development of this country through controlling population size, as well as improving the quality of life and health of individuals and families.

The role of health professionals in balancing population growth with socioeconomic development is immense and only possible by using family planning as a principle and different contraceptive methods as tools. As a Health Extension Practitioner, you can contribute to balanced population growth through mobilising the community at large. Community mobilisation for the purpose of improving family planning is possible with understanding and by encouraging ownership amongst the beneficiaries. To achieve this, both formal and informal education is important. In short, the three key areas of education, population size and development impact on one another and need to remain in balance.

In this Module, you will learn about family planning in detail. Beginning with the wider context of family planning programme management, promotion and counselling for family planning, you will move on to focus in detail on the different types of contraceptive methods, and finally touch briefly on the issue of male and female infertility. The Module is divided into 12 study sessions, and each session should take you about two hours to study.