World Population Day is an annual event that marks the date when the world’s population reached 5 billion (July 11, 1987). Today, there are more than 7 billion people in the world. There are more than 600 million girls, with over 500 million of them residing in developing countries.
As the world celebrates World Population Day, we want to highlight HAS’ efforts to address population issues in Haiti.
When HAS was established in 1956, the population in Haiti was approximately 3.8 million. Now, Haiti is home to more than 10 million people. Yet Haiti remains the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere and is burdened with some of the highest rates of infant, under-five, and maternal mortality, HIV, and cervical cancer in the region and in the world.
Women in Haiti face a 1 in 83 risk of maternal death, often due to lack of access to skilled care before, during, and after childbirth, as well as lack of access to information and education about reproductive health.
At least 35% of women in Haiti would like to delay childbearing or space their births but lack access to modern contraceptive methods. Among adolescent girls (ages 15-19), the unmet need for sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH), including family planning, may be as high as 56%; and an estimated 14% of adolescent girls in Haiti have at least one child or are pregnant. These numbers will only continue to increase as the population increases, too.
In order to live sustainably and give future generations around the world a fair chance of living good lives, we must stabilize and then reduce population. Despite HAS’ current range of quality SRH and maternal health services for women and girls, strengthening and expanding its capacity to provide youth-friendly SRH services, and to reach new adolescents, are musts in order to meet the needs of the most vulnerable adolescents in the region.
HAS is working hard to respond to the increasing demand for services at both the community and hospital levels, and will continue to focus on services and methods that contribute to a sustainable future for all of Haiti “in the hopes of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled” (UN, 2013).
1. UNFPA. Linking population, poverty, and development. 2014.
2. The Development Education Association. World population day. 2014.
3. WHO. Urban population growth.
4. World Economic Forum. Global agenda council on population growth 2012-2014.
5. UNICEF. At a glance: Haiti. 2013.
6. World Bank. World development indicators: Haiti. 2014.