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From the Countries: Malaria control needed, Japanese deaths and Smuggled IUD’s

How about some malaria control?

Among population control’s many are the ways in which it undermines vital health care efforts. Recently, the Atlantic Monthly published an article detailing how the malarial war is being fought — and lost — around the world. Included was this telling excerpt from the author about the conditions she discovered in one Sinhalese village where malaria is endemic:

I ask if they have been ill lately. The elder head nods, and says he has suffered from malaria four times this season. The others indicate that they, too, have been afflicted. We visit the village clinic, a cement-block hut hung with posters promoting ‘safe love’ in English and Arabic. Inside there are not medical supplies, no equipment, and no lights. There are no medical personnel: a teenager trained in recognizing malaria symptoms comes in from time to time to hand out anti-malaria medications. This is the best that can be hoped for in rural areas, because anti-malaria drugs are costly; often there is no money for them.

Propagandizing Filipinos?

The Johns Hopkins University, long a population control advocate and contractor, used its Center for Communication to sponsor a seminar for journalists on the Philippine population and family planning programs. The program, held on August 11–12, 1997 at the Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay City, was supposed to be open to the public. However when Filipinos opposed to population control appeared at the event they were prevented from entering the room. Seminar organizers claimed the seminar was exclusively for select journalists.

Although disappointed, the group prevailed upon the head of the organizing committee, Mr. Mike de la Rosa, to distribute to the select journalists their facts sheet and position paper. Among other points, the paper declared that population and family planning is a national concern, hence every Filipino should be represented in that seminar workshop, whether pro or anti population control. (Press release, Prolife Philippines Foundation, 18 August.)

Japanese death a booming business

The rapid aging of the Japanese population has proven to be a boon to the country’s funeral business. In 1993 some 878,000 Japanese died; in 1996 the figure was more than 900,000. For the foreseeable future, the number of deaths is expected to increase by about 2 percent a year.

In Tokyo the average cost of a funeral is $35,000; nationwide the funeral industry revenue is nearing $10 billion a year. The business has become so lucrative that the country’s “full service” funeral homes, now numbering about 1,000, are increasing at the rate of 200 or so a year.

Indeed, competition for the funeral dollar has spawned some unusual entrepreneurs into the business: a railway company has set up a funeral subsidiary and hotels are bidding for their share of the market. With the long-standing plunge in Japan’s birth rate having led to a sharp decrease in the numbers of the country’s youth, the outlook for weddings, hitherto a mainstay of hotel profits has diminished. In contrast, with the rapid aging of the population, the future of funerals appears a lot healthier than that of weddings. (Death, Japanese-style, The Economist, 15 March, 64.)

“Unsafe” IUDs smuggled

Smuggled IUDs, apparently stolen from Egyptian stocks donated by the United States Agency for International Development and the United Nations Population Fund, have been appearing in large numbers in the Kingdom of Jordan,

The contraband IUDs, which have not undergone sterility checks, carry no expiration date and whose storage history is unknown, are being “extensively utilized” by Jordanian doctors and birth control clinics.

Every gynecologist contacted by the Jordon Times, the country’s leading newspaper, denied buying smuggled IUDs “from the street.” However, the general manager of Med.I.C.A, a major importer and distributor of contraceptives in the kingdom, complained that since the smugglers began their rounds late last year, his “IUD sales are zero.”

Jordanian birth control groups, doctors and contraception marketers all warned women about the risks of using the smuggled IUDs: If an IUD is not sterilized it can cause serious infection, sterility and even death. (COMPASS, 30 June.)

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