Family planning has changed the world for us all over the past few decades. But better health isn't the only advantage. There's another, though we in the global health field have often been hesitant about lauding it too loudly. I'm talking about the relationship between family planning to prosperity.
After 17 months, Sierra Leone continues its fight against Ebola, with five new cases in September alone. The latest is a 16-year-old girl in Bombali district, an area that hasn't had an Ebola case in 169 days. The continued appearance of new cases raises many questions, including how Ebola is spreading and whether or not Ebola will remain endemic in Sierra Leone for the foreseeable future.
According to a recent World Bank study, fisheries make up one quarter of Mauritania's natural wealth, but the waters off the country in north-western Africa are being overfished. Foreign operators pull out the lion's share of the catch - sometimes legally, sometimes not; suspicions of corruption abound.
For most of us, only a handful of moments will etch themselves forever into our memories. For me, one came when I learned that Ebola had broken out in West Africa. It was December 2013 and I was watching the news. The ticker tape across the bottom of the screen confirmed an outbreak in Guinea. The news anchor didn't even mention it.
Countries are catching on to the demographic dividends that come with robust family planning programs, which can help turn a low-income country into a middle-income country. In fact, for less than the cost of a cheeseburger per American per year, we could reduce the world's population growth by 500 million, saving mothers' and children's lives everywhere and helping poor countries prosper like never before. So what's the holdup? And who's being left behind?
Over a year has passed since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa began. In that narrow window of time, the disease has claimed more than 10,000 lives, stalled economic growth, and hampered -- if not reversed -- gains the region had made in strengthening public health infrastructure and service delivery.