The Economist: Fertile grounds for hope

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Evelyne Opondo
Primary Content

* SIR - Although it is true that modern contraception could play an important role in lowering birth rates in sub-Saharan Africa, governments must ensure that women and girls are getting both the information and the services they need to make good personal health decisions.

In Tanzania adolescent girls are denied education about how to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies and yet are routinely subjected to invasive, mandatory pregnancy testing. Over the past decade this has led to more than 55,000 pregnant students ending their education, severely limiting their employment prospects.

African governments must ensure that sexual and reproductive health services are more broadly accessible and offered without discrimination. Declining fertility rates will be just one of many benefits that follow.

Evelyne Opondo
Regional director for Africa
Centre for Reproductive Rights
Nairobi, Kenya

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