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?
Growing up in Senegal, I lived in what we in the global health community might call a "pronatalist" environment -- meaning that women and communities prefer large families. Contraception was, and often still is, difficult to come by, and many women die as a result of childbirth complications (289,000 per year worldwide, in fact).