Where the Rubbers Meet the Road
Lack of promised funding from the U.S. and other industrialized nations has led to a severe shortage of condoms in the developing world, hampering efforts to curtail population growth, stem the spread of HIV, and give people the means to control the size of their families, according to a report released this week by the United Nations Population Fund. Nafis Sadik, the retiring head of the fund, sharply criticized wealthy nations for spending enormous amounts of money on military operations and offering very little for health and family planning programs. The world’s population has grown by 77 million since last October, when it passed the 6 billion mark, according to the report. The report also highlighted the plight of women and girls around the world who, because of entrenched gender bias, are routinely denied access to adequate health care, including reproductive services, as well as education, equal pay, and legal rights. These problems contribute to 80 million unwanted pregnancies and 20 million unsafe abortions each year.