Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Population explosion: the programmed catastrophe

The International Research Institute for Reproduction (IRIR) based in Dusseldorf, West Germany, has been carrying out regular educational and training courses for medical personnel to make accessible the scientific results to physicians and family planners from the "Third World". The propagation of the different methods for contraception, as well as the auxiliary and demonstration materials is, in the opinion of IRIR, an efficient way of human population planning.
In May 1984 a course on "regulation of human fertility" was carried out by IRIR in Düsseldorf and Hamburg. The following gynecologists/family planners, Dr Medhat Y. M. Anwar, Lecturer for Gynecology and Obstetrics University of Alexandria, Egypt; Dr Samuel Okun Ayangade, Lecturer for Gynecology and Obstetrics Director of a federal family planning project University of Ile-Ife, Nigeria and Dr Panit Jivanantapravat, Population and Community Develop- ment Association Director of Medical Services Division Bangkok, Thailand who participated reported on the various aspects of population growth in their countries.

The participants agreed on Statisticians' estimate that the human population will reach 6 billion by the year 2000. Today 3 babies are born worldwide every second, e.g. the number of human beings is increasing yearly by 80 million. If the population explosion continues, this will result in 700 years in a living space of only one square meter per human being. It is calculable that under these circumstances, the natural resources will be exhausted.

Due to the growth in world population already today, the ecological balance is sensitively disturbed in numerous areas. Developing countries are faced more and more with nutrition problems, which could easily lead to famine.

The population of the "Third World" has increased within 84 years in the period of 1900 to 1984 - from 1.7 billion to about 5 billion. Due to the medical care and hygiene, the high rate of infant death has drastically decreased commencing in 1950. Consequently, at this time, an average of 7 to 8 children could take care of the family, but on the other hand this supplementary population has to be nourished. The production of food could not satisfy the people's needs.

Several African countries indicate an actual growth rate of 2.7%-3.2%. The production of food is increasing by 1% only per year. Following the estimations of the UN-Agrarian Organisations, in 1990 about 65 countries will not be able to nourish their population without important food-imports.

The increasing poverty and hunger in these countries can lead to political troubles extending outside their boundaries. In the opinion of experts, a violent solution of population problems is becoming more and more probable. Roy O. Greep, a former speaker of the Ford Foundation, was in 1976 already of the opinion that: "The future of mankind depends not on the conquest of cancer, but on the control of human reproduction."

The intentions of some organisations, such as the UNESCO and several clerical relief-organisations to reduce the hunger of the world, is not sufficient to provide the undeveloped countries with a worthy chance to life.


In the meantime, birth-control and family planning are seen as the decisive way to avoid the possible catastrophes in numerous developing countries. Appropriate programs are being supported and 80 countries have committed themselves officially to a family planning policy.

The Peoples Republic of China, the country with the most important pressure of population in the world, propagates the "One-Child-Family" with financial incentives. In case of more than 2 children, the parents risk commercial sanctions by the government.

Also the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi tried in the 70's to limit the population growth in her country by government regulations and sanctions. In the first step, on one province of India, men would have to have been sterilised after the birth of a third baby.

But the pressure of the opposition prevented this programme from being realised. In the past, men have been mainly sterilised, today, in most cases, women have to endure this operation. In the meantime, India has increased to a population of 700 million. Today's estimations predict for the year 2030 a population of 2 billion.

Inquiries in 16 developing countries show that birth-control/family planning on a voluntary basis is possible with about 80% of all fertile women. More than 50% of all married women do not wish any further children. 30%-40% wish a further child only after a certain period.

In order to reduce the world population long-term to zero 9% growth, it is not the hope of prosperity, as socialists declare, or a government sanctioned birth-control which will help, but low-cost and easy to handle contraceptives, adapted to the habits and life style of the various populations.

International investigations show that in numerous countries hormonal contraceptives, sterilisations, intrauterine devices, barrier- and natural methods are already used with success. Mainly younger couples show hesitations, when sterilisation is suggested due to the finality of the operation. The "Pill" is seen in most cases as disadvantageous, as the daily application demands discipline and as it cannot be afforded by poorer population groups. The intrauterine contraception only needs one and not a daily decision. It offers a low-cost, secure and stable protection for years.

The independent International Research Institute for Reproduction, IRIR, has been occupied for a number of years with the development and improvement of reversible and long- acting methods for contraception, which mainly offer advantages to the highly fertile group of the 20-30 years old couples. By this method, the period between the births can be prolonged.

This has been realised e.g. by the Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR, which has asked IRIR for proposals to effect a mutual family planning project.

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