Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Electricity could control Uganda's high birth rates?

I once sat in a workshop and one official from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development told us that finally they are ready to tackle Uganda’s high fertility/birth rates (6.7 per woman) not by using family planning security but by providing electricity to rural areas.

It has been a debate,  no one has ever proven it scientifically but it is said that boredom is one of the reasons that the rural folk engage in birth giving activities. With all the myths about using family planning it is envisaged that if they were kept busy say with the youth provided with Internet then they would be engaged and birth rates would go down.

Now, it is official that by the end of FY 2008/09, rural electrification coverage increased to 6%, up from 1% in 2001. The overall access to electricity in Uganda also increased from 5% in 2001 to 15% in 2008.

It would be interesting if there were any such research done to see the impact of electricity on rural births. Unfortunately, we don’t have the data for places that now have electricity. The study would control for other factors including family planning security and then see the impact of electricity on births. I would love to read such research.