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Population Growth Rate
Complete these exercises with information from the case study.

Case Study 1 Exercises with Answers: A Day in the Life of a Traveling Health Care Worker, Cameroon

1. Who is the narrator of this case study and why is she holding this meeting? [The narrator is a traveling health care worker employed by the Cameroonian government to teach people about family planning.]

2. Who attends the meeting? [There are about 15 women of varying ages. Some bring their children.]

3. Why do some people say that the village can support more people? [The village has recently built a number of improvements, including a corn mill, roads, and a new school. Some of the villagers feel that these additions should make it possible for families to have more children.] Why do other people say that the village cannot support more people? [Some villagers point out that the people in the village depend on the local land for growing their food. There are limits to the amount of food that can be produced on the available land, and overclearing and overworking the land can cause the soil to erode and to lose its fertility.]

4. How can spacing pregnancies help to produce a healthier, more economically secure family? [When there is time between births, babies and mothers tend to be healthier. In addition, parents have more time and resources to give to each child. There is more money per child for food, clothing, medical care, and education.]

5. What are some of the benefits mentioned for having large families? [A large family can be a sign of prosperity and status. Also, if a family has its own business or farm, children can provide the necessary labor. In addition, when the infant mortality rate is high, parents may choose to have large families to be sure that at least a few children will survive to take care of them in their old age.] What are some of the benefits to having small families? [In small families, the mother and children are usually healthier, and a greater percentage of the children live to adulthood. It is less expensive to feed, clothe, house, and educate a small family, so their standard of living can be higher. And when a generation dies, the family lands and wealth will be divided among fewer people, so each child’s portion will be larger. If an entire village has small families, there is less demand placed on local environment and natural resources.]

6. In Christy’s opening presentation, she discusses “responsible parenthood” with the women. If you were to give a presentation on “responsible parenthood”, how would you define the term and what topics would you cover? [Answers will vary.]

7. Christy tells the women that she works with the Ministry of Health. Why might the government want to slow population growth and encourage family planning? [Answers will vary.]

8. Vivian tells the group that some of the men “were angry that outsiders were trying to meddle in our private affairs.” To what extent is having children a private matter, a public concern, or both? Use examples from the case study and your own experience to explain your answer. [Answers will vary.]

9. At the end of the case study, Christy suggests that the group continue their meeting by talking about how to get more of the community, especially husbands, interested in family planning. What are some of the objections people might have to family planning? What are some of the reasons people might support family planning? If you were at this meeting, what strategies would you suggest to bring these two sides together? [Answers will vary.]

11. Look at the Social Data Tables and find Cameroon. What is the projected 1998–2015 average annual population growth rate? [2.1%] How does this compare with the projected 1998–2015 average annual growth rate for your country? [Answers will vary.]

12. Is family planning an issue where you live? Explain. [Answers will vary.]


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