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From: Family spacing – Footsteps 3

Raising awareness of population pressures and the benefits of family spacing

With a 3% population growth rate…
The population will double every 20 years.

Every gardener knows that plants placed close together do not grow well! In the same way, spacing births helps produce heavier children. Because they can have more of their mother's attention, they are healthier and do better at school. Children are twice as likely to survive if they are born two to three years apart than if they are born every year or so.

Modern family planning methods were not available many years ago. People developed tradition methods for spacing children. Women would sometimes return to their parents for up to two years after a birth. Sometimes husband and wife would sleep separately until the child was weaned at two to three years of age. Also, more children would die of diseases, which can now be prevented through immunisation, improved hygiene and medicines.

Now, few people use these traditional ways of spacing their families. Many couples have eight or more children quite close together. People need new ways to help them space their families.

Encourage people in your area to think about these issues. Could you make up dramas or puppet plays to encourage discussion?

Questions for group discussion…

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