Ipas delegation observes Tunisia's progressive reproductive health system

Friday, July 23 2010

July 26, 2007 – Forty years ago, the average Tunisian woman lived 15 years after the birth of her last child; today, she lives more than 35. During this same period, the average number of children born per woman fell from more than six to less than two. This small, wedge-shaped country in the middle of Africa’s Mediterranean coast stands as a testament to how political determination to implement reproductive health reforms can have a dramatic impact on maternal health. This June, Ipas staff from Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States visited Tunisia to observe and learn from the most progressive national reproductive health system of North Africa and the Middle East.

Tunisia’s reforms were implemented by Habib Bourguiba, who ruled Tunisia from its independence in 1956 until 1987. Bourguiba ruled as an authoritarian President-for-life, banning opposition and dissent, but also encouraged women’s literacy and emancipation. He legalized contraception and first-trimester abortions and ensured they were available and free of charge in clinics throughout the country.

Read the full article: http://www.ipas.org/english/press_room/2007/releases/07262007.asp

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