Contraception and Fertility in Zimbabwe

Family Planning Services and Education Make a Difference

by John Maluccio, Duncan Thomas

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This research brief describes work documented in "Fertility, Contraceptive Choice, and Public Policy in Zimbabwe," World Bank Economic Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1996, pp. 189-222, available as Fertility, Contraceptive Choice, and Public Policy in Zimbabwe (RP-513).

Excerpt: Since achieving independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has invested heavily in its infrastructure. A large share of that investment has been allocated to the provision of social services, particularly health and education. The country's family planning program, which was integrated into the public health system in the 1980s, has expanded dramatically. Today, knowledge of contraceptives is virtually universal, and the level of use of modern methods is among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, the fertility rate in Zimbabwe remains high, and critics have charged that the family planning program is ineffective — even though there has been no systematic evaluation of the program.

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