SEMINAR – GLOBAL TRENDS IN BIRTH SPACING: IS THERE EVIDENCE OF AFRICAN EXCEPTIONALISM?

REGIONAL INSTITUTE FOR POPULATION STUDIES, COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES, UNIVERSITY OF GHANA
Seminar
World Renowned Fertility Expert Speaks at the University of Ghana
“Global Trends In Birth Spacing: Is There Evidence of African Exceptionalism?”
Speaker: Prof. John B. Casterline
Chairperson: Prof. Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Provost, College of Humanities

Abstract
Birth spacing patterns are a fundamental feature of any reproductive regime, and changes in these patterns are among the possible sources of fertility change. It is surprising, therefore, to discover in the literature of the past decade no comprehensive analysis of recent trends in inter-birth intervals in societies outside the West. We analyze birth history data from 271 surveys (WFS, DHS, RHS, MICS) conducted in 66 countries from 1975 to 2014, yielding a total sample of 2,299,111 women and 7,469,359 births, to cover an historical span of ten five-year
historical periods 1965-69 – 2005-09. Estimates of inter-birth intervals are generated for the second birth interval alone and for intervals of all orders pooled. These estimates provide convincing evidence, for all major regions, of substantial change in inter-birth intervals as fertility has declined. The median interval has lengthened, generally by more than one year, as fertility falls from TFR=6 to TFR=2.5. Correspondingly, the incidence of short intervals (<24 months) has declined sharply, a positive accomplishment from the standpoint of maternal and child health.The global character of birth-interval lengthening is a notable finding: while there is some indication of sharper increase in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is little basis for asserting "African exceptionalism". Source: ghanaschool.com

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