Labor and Propulsion Program. Contraception and Fertility in Zimbabwe: Family Planning Services and Education Make a Difference.
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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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 countrys 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 modem 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. The benefits of investments in social infrastructure since independence are likely to be felt most by young Zimbabweans, and thus it will be several decades before it is possible to arrive at a complete and definitive answer with regard to the benefits realized from the countrys family planning services. Policy decisions, however, cannot wait decades. In a recent study, Duncan Thomas and John Maluccio combined household and community level survey data collected in the late 1980s and early 1990s to measure the impact of service availability and quality on contraceptive use and fertility, paying special attention to the distributional effect of these investments.
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