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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Population and Development Review
Title Fertility Transitions in Ghana and Kenya: Trends, Determinants, and Implications for Policy and Programs
Volume 43
Issue S1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 289-307
URL https://www.infona.pl/resource/bwmeta1.element.wiley-padr-v-43-i-S1-padr12010
As a continent with 54 independent states, Africa's diversity is often highlighted but frequently forgotten when fertility is discussed. Fifty and more years ago, to consider that all African countries and societies had a single fertility pattern (large numbers of children) and single trend (unchanging over time) was a valid characterization. Since the 1960s, however, that uniformity has disappeared, replaced by substantial inter- and intra-country differences in fertility patterns and trends that render previous perceptions of continent-wide homogeneity obsolete.

In this chapter we consider two African countries—Ghana and Kenya—whose fertility patterns and trends, and their determinants, have been well documented (Bongaarts 2008; Garenne 2008; Machiyama 2010; Shapiro and Gebreselassie 2008; Sneeringer 2009). Both countries have benefited from regular World Fertility Surveys (WFS) and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) that record trends in fertility, family planning (FP), and other relevant indicators. The recently introduced Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) surveys monitor progress since 2012 for the FP2020 initiative, and occasional Situation Analysis and Service Provision Assessment surveys have also detailed the readiness of the health system in both countries to make quality FP services available.

Ghana and Kenya share some common history: both have relatively strong health system legacies from the period of British colonialization; both were among the earliest countries to achieve independence; they were the first two African countries that developed policies to address population growth in the 1960s; and both have received substantial and sustained resources over several decades from many external donors and technical assistance organizations explicitly intended to increase the availability and quality of family planning services. However, they are composed of cultures that are both diverse within each country and markedly different in many ways between the two countries. The two countries demonstrate remarkably different pathways in fertility and family planning patterns and trends from the 1970s to the present. We highlight some of the key differences and similarities, explain why they have occurred, and identify insights that could inform a wider understanding of fertility transitions and the role of family planning in other African countries.

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