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Contraception as a development tool in Latin America

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Education.
    1. Education through awareness and information.
    2. The cycle of education and contraception.
    3. Catholicism.
  3. Health.
    1. Contraceptive prevalence rate and health.
    2. Health as an HDI component.
    3. Public expenditure, contraception and health.
  4. Income.
    1. Examination of the general economic situation in Latin America.
    2. Funding family planning: A complex task.
    3. Generating growth: Challenges and hopes.
  5. Policy recommendations.
  6. Conclusion.
  7. Endnotes.

Family planning is ?a program to regulate the number and spacing of children in a family through the practice of contraception or other methods of birth control.? This paper looks at the relationship between the three components of the Human Development Index, respectively education, health and GNP per capita, and the level of contraception in Latin America as a whole. Contraception and education influence each other, through the decrease of fertility rates and the positive impact of awareness campaigns. Health is also highly correlated with the contraceptive prevalence rate through maternal mortality, infant mortality, and child-mortality and abortion rate, not withstanding the fact that contraception prevents the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. GDP per capita is simultaneously affected by contraception through the decrease in fertility rates and affecting the level of implementation and success of family planning programs.

[...] Although the Romer model makes it sound easy, launching the wheel of growth in Latin America is still a big challenge. The main reason behind that is the political and economic instability in the region. The future success of Latin American economies requires more help from donor countries, more foreign direct investments, a reduction of debt and much less inequality.[xxxviii] Policy recommendations Whether it is through NGOs, self-financed governmental projects, or large world-wide donor aid, family planning policies do not only succeed or fail at its fiscal source, but rather, in its application locally. [...]

[...] Unfortunately, religious traditions remain a reality in Latin America and continue to greatly offset the road toward sustainable development. Finally, because education provides economic growth, reinforcing health-related measures such as family planning; a healthy population may increase the return to investments in education and a greater education capital improves the return to investments in health. Health ?Family planning objectives should include reducing maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, lowering the risks of teenage pregnancy and abortion, and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.?[xvii] The contraceptive prevalence rate[xviii] is positively correlated with the life expectancy at birth index in the HDI. [...]

[...] A ten-year study led in Santiago, Chile, by Ramiro Molina, the Director of the Center for Reproduction Medicine and Public Health at the University of Chile, showed that an 82% drop in abortion rate could be induced by an improvement in the availability, delivery and quality of contraception.[xxi] This is of critical importance, given that unmet needs for modern contraception in Latin America was estimated at nearly 30% in 2003,[xxii] that abortions as a proportion of unintended pregnancies approached 67% (1995-2003) and that the death rate per 100,000 abortions was 98.[xxiii] Child mortality is closely intertwined with maternal mortality and as a component of the MDG (goal constitutes a top priority for Latin America. [...]

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