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Case study The Gambia a youthful population
The Gambia is the smallest African country and 95% of Gambia's population
are Muslim. There has been a taboo on contraceptives and the birth rate is
high, on average each woman in her life time will have 7 children. The
birth rate is 40 per 1000 population and for every 1000 children born 11
mothers will die in child birth. People do not live much be 40 50, the life
expectancy for women is 57 and for men 53. It is thought that the population
will double every 28 years.
The Gambia is a very poor country, there is not enough money to build
infrastructure and develop towns. Healthcare is very limited and the infant
mortality rate is 73 per 1000.
Problems having a young population
High dependency ratio.
Financial problems not having enough money to feed and support the
growing family. Malnutrition is common.
Homes often don't have electricity and are overcrowded.
Sanitation is very poor.
Desertification of the forests, people use the wood for fires housing and
selling. The land left ends up as desert therefore making the temperature
Not enough education, there is a shortage of toilet facilities and educational
material, often schools adopted a 2 shift system some children educated in
the morning and some later in the day. Teachers are poorly paid and can
work up to 12 hours a day.
1 in 3 14 year olds have to work to help support the family.
Responses to the problems
There are now awareness campaigns and radio adverts explaining about
contraceptives. An NGO called Futures is helping to address the problem by
delivering very cheap contraception which is subsidised by the World Health
Organisation. Due to this programme the population growth rate has
dropped from 4.2% to 3%.
To reduce the infant mortality rate funding from Canada is used to provide
free vaccination for children. Improved maternity care helps the mothers to
survive. Parents are encouraged to space out the births so that mother has
enough time to recover.
The German government are funding a forest management scheme. The plan
is to plant new forests and educate the population on how to look after and
use the forests.
More and more children are attending school.
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