KAMPALA — Pairing family planning services with HIV/AIDS treatment can help curb Africa’s population growth rate which records a yearly increase of 2.5 percent, health experts said Monday.
Many of those seeking HIV/AIDS information are often the ones who need to be offered birth control services, Maggwa Ndugga of Family Health International told AFP.
Ndugga said the strategy would be to use the enormous global investment made to counter HIV/AIDS to provide information on family planning.
“We started to realise that most of the people who were coming to us for HIV AIDS information are the same people that we needed to be targeting for family planning services,” Ndugga said during an international family health conference in Kampala.
Every year, 75 million women in developing countries have unintended pregnancies and Africa is a significant contributor, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Africa has 239 million women aged between 15 and 49 and who average five births each year compared to Asian women of the same age range who average 3.3 births while Europeans average 1.5, said the Population Reference Bureau.
Last year, the continent’s population stood at 809 million.
“It is absolutely vital both for cost effectiveness and to maximise resources that HIV and family planning information are provided together,” said Janet Jackson of the UNFPA.