Gambia - Youthful Population

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  • Gambia - Youthful Population
    • Reasons for large families
      • Religious and cultural reasons
        • 95% Muslim population - mainly against the use of contraception
        • Small families are culturally taboo - tradition dictates large families, people will not deviate from this otherwise they risk being cast out of community/family
      • High infant mortality
        • People have many children to ensure they have enough children to help economically and several children may die to poor healthcare and nutrition
      • Economic reasons
        • Many live in rural areas - grow crops for subsistence and small amount of cash
    • Population structure
      • BR - 3x more than MEDCs
      • Many dies before 40
      • 11 mothers die for every 1000 children born
      • 73/1000 - 33rd highest IMR in world
      • Life expectency - Men = 53        Women = 57
      • Population will double every 28 yrs at current rate
      • High dependency ratio - 45% under 15, 3% over 65, 52% working age (16-65)
    • Problems caused by youthful population and high birth rate
      • Lack of social infrastructure - roads in Serakunda (largest city) are unpaved
      • Small houses - 9 people to 1 room
      • Electricity is very expensive
      • Massive unemployment due to rapidly increasing population
      • School resources - 3000 children in 26 classrooms - schools operate in two shifts - teachers work 12 hour shifts - lack of toilets
      • More people = higher resource use - desertification has occurred due to high deforestation
      • At current rate the forests will dissapper within 50 years - among poorest people in the world - Stage 2/3 of DTM
    • Solutions
      • Contraception awareness campaign
        • TV then radio campaign to reach more people - there is also a weekly radio phone in on the topic of family planning
        • Support from NGOs such as Futures - helped to provide contraceptives to rural areas - 1/2 million sold in first 8 months
        • EFFECT - population growth rate on 1993 = 4.3 - in 2005 = 3
      • Education
        • EFFECT - All children now go to school and attendance has doubled in past 10 years - foreign NGOs help fund education
        • As people become more educated, they understand more about better diets and may also be able to find better jobs = SUSTAINABLE
      • Improved maternal and child health
        • Received bilateral aid from Canada - vaccinations for all children against illnesses such as TB, whooping cough, Hep B, yellow fever and measles
        • Birth spacing encouraged which improves mothers health and also means fewer children
        • Counselling has improved - discussing health used to be taboo, it is now culturally acceptable and men are taking more of a part in family planning also
        • EFFECT - TFR was 7 in 1990, by 2010 it had fallen to 4.8

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