What African Women Want

(Steven W. Mosher is President of the Population Research Institute, and author of Hegemon: China’s Plan to Dominate Asia and the World.)

A total of 397 individuals of both sexes were interviewed by one of four trained interviewers on one of Takoradi’s main thoroughfares, selected at random from the constant stream of passersby.

Those interviewed were shown a list of 15 different health programs, and asked to rank order the list from greatest to least in terms of their own personal health needs. The fifteen kinds of health programs listed were Malaria Eradication, Leprosy Treatment, Reproductive Health, Syphilis Treatment, Polio Prevention, Clean Water Program, Natural Family Planning, Sleeping Sickness, Gonorrhea Treatment, Tuberculosis Treatment, Yellow Fever Prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention, Cholera Treatment, Measles Prevention, and unnamed “Other Programs.”

Other information collected included sex, age, religion, marital status, and prior history of contraception, sterilization and abortion. The data on health needs was entered into a database and the mean rank order was calculated for each category. The higher the rank order for a particular kind of health care, the greater the perceived need.

The most pressing health care needs identified by the respondents were for Malaria Treatment (mean rank order 4.16), Natural Family Planning education (5.23), Clean Water Program (5.30), Measles Prevention (5.54), and HIV/Aids Prevention (5.86). Malaria, Measles, and HIV/AIDS are all diseases which, in the Ghanaian context, run at epidemic or near-epidemic proportions and so are of obvious concern. The citizens of Ghana are also clearly aware that polluted drinking water is a vector for the transmission of disease, and so give a high rank to clean water programs.

The only surprise in this cluster of health needs is the high ranking of NFP, which was welcome by the respondents as a natural means of planning one’s family. In the comments section of the questionnaire, a number of respondents declared that they would like more education on NFP.

Second order health needs (with mean rank orders from 7.14 down to 9.97) included Tuberculosis Treatment, Cholera Treatment, Leprosy Treatment, Polio Prevention, Sleeping Sickness, and Syphilis and Gonorrhea treatment. These are all diseases which are endemic in Ghana, although not affecting the percentage of the population that, say, HIV/AIDS does.

The single most striking result of the survey is the dismal showing of Reproductive Health. This category of health care, defined as the limitation of childbearing by means of contraception, sterilization, and abortion, came in dead last. It had a mean rank order of 13.66. Even “Other Programs” ranked higher.

Reproductive health care was also overwhelmingly rejected by the Ghanaian interviewees in the comments section of the interview. Mention of reproductive health elicited strong negative comments from the interviewees such as “Stop reproductive health; it’s not good,” “Stop reproductive health, eradicate malaria, and “We don’t need reproductive health programs.”

Population control organizations active in Africa, including UNFPA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, speak of “huge unmet needs” for their reproductive health programs. They justify their promotion of contraception, sterilization, and abortion by claiming that this is what the African people want.

Our survey suggests that this is not only untrue, but that it is a complete perversion of the truth. Ghana has huge, unmet needs for many kinds of primary health care, but reproductive health care is not one of them. The Ghanaian people not only do not welcome programs of contraception, sterilization, and abortion, they view such programs as a positive evil.

Let’s start giving the people of Africa health care programs that they really need, instead of inflicting upon them anti-life programs that they do not want.

Steven W. Mosher


Steven W. Mosher is the President of Population Research Institute and an internationally recognized authority on China and population issues, as well as an acclaimed author, speaker. He has worked tirelessly since 1979 to fight coercive population control programs and has helped hundreds of thousands of women and families worldwide over the years.

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