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Fertility and Family Planning In One Region of Senegal

Howard I. Goldberg, Fara G. M'Bodji and Jay S. Friedman
International Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 12, No. 4 (Dec., 1986), pp. 116-122
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2947982
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2947982
Page Count: 7
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Fertility and Family Planning In One Region of Senegal
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Abstract

The results of a 1982 survey of 1,894 rural women in the Sine-Saloum region of Senegal indicate that the total fertility rate of over six births per woman has not declined in recent years, and may even have increased very slightly. Fifty-five percent of the respondents had their first child before the age of 18, and there has been no discernible trend toward later first births. The proportion of women who know about contraceptive methods is low compared with levels found in other developing countries, but knowledge has increased dramatically in the region over the last few years, possibly as a result of improved transportation and communications networks. The use of modern methods is virtually nonexistent: Only three percent of women reported using any contraceptive method, and half of these were practicing abstinence. Despite high levels of fertility and low levels of contraceptive use, however, birth intervals of less than two years are relatively uncommon because women breastfeed for long periods and experience correspondingly long periods of postpartum amenorrhea (lasting 19 months, on average). Although a considerable majority of women express the desire for unlimited fertility, particularly among those who have five or fewer children, more than one-fifth of the respondents claim that they want to limit their number of births (three percent) or space them farther apart (19 percent). Thus, there is a potential demand for family planning services in this region, but such services are not available.

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