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news release

Leila Darabi

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Those at greatest risk not reached through clinics, schools or mass media

By focusing on mass media campaigns and efforts based in clinics and schools, the vast majority of public health initiatives make no distinction between poorer and relatively wealthy women in the developing world. Yet in most countries, the poorest young women are at greatest risk of poor sexual and reproductive health and the least likely to be in school or to have access to mass media or health clinics, according to a recent study of nationally representative data from 12 developing countries in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Poor women are more likely than wealthier women to be married and have a child by the age of 18, and less likely to use contraceptives, use maternal health services or know how to protect themselves from HIV.

In “Exploring the Socioeconomic Dimensions of Adolescent Reproductive Health: A Multicountry Analysis,” authors Manju Rani, a consultant with the World Health Organization, and Elizabeth Lule of the World Bank, examine a range of characteristics related to wealth and reproductive health among young women in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Chad, Guinea, India, Kenya, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania and Turkey. They find that in all 12 countries a divide exists between poor and relatively wealthy young women’s media exposure, school enrollment, rates of unintended pregnancy, use of modern contraceptive methods, knowledge of HIV prevention, and other indicators. To better serve the needs of the poorest women and close this gap, the authors recommend developing community-based outreach programs and other strategies for addressing poor women as a specific market.

The study appears in the September issue of International Family Planning Perspectives.

Also in this issue:

“Are Partner and Relationship Characteristics Associated with Condom Use in Zambian Nonmarital Relationships?” by Kofi D. Benefo of Lehman College, City College of New York,

“Needs and Preferences Regarding Sex Education Among Chinese College Students: A Preliminary Study,” by Ying Li of the University of Florida et al.,

“Family Planning Programs: Getting the Most for the Money,” by Gaverick Matheny, and

“The Future of the Female Condom,” by Susie Hoffman et al.

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