ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Philip G AhbachSubscribe to Philip G Ahbach

Star Wars and Beyond

preferences of the official family planning programme itself''.4 As for the situation in Indonesia, "It is possible that many poor people ... adopt contraception because they find it difficult to resist the strong pressures of local officials to help them meet the mandated goals for local areas".5 The situation in Bangladesh is well known by now for its manipulative and coercive practices in pushing contraceptives.6 It is of interest here to point out that Save the Children has itself been accused of using coercion on their project in Bangladesh to promote ICs. "In 1978 and 1979, two large Depo-Provera trials were carried out on Bangladeshi women under the guise of the Save the Children Fund (UK) River Project. Despite a side-effect rate of 80 per cent (including heavy bleeding which can be fatal in villages without adequate back-up health services) and continued petitioning by local health workers, Depo-Provera was the only contraceptive offered by project staff'7 It gradually becomes clear that there can be other reasons for the promotion of ICs than the stated humanitarian concern for the health of 'those women'. Reports show that a large percentage of the initial consignment of ICs were provided to developing countries by international donor agencies like UNFPA and IPPF, with the indirect support of USAID Depo-Provera and NET-EN are sold in bulk to donor agencies and family planning organisations for between $ 0.50 to' $ 1 (US) per dose, by the drug companies. ICs are expensive and it is to the advantage of drug companies to push IC (which are not seen favourably by middle class western whites) in developing countries, even at an initial discount, since the long-term pay-off would be worth it. As experience in Thailand (where the largest consignment of Depo- Provera, from donor agencies has been in use for the last 20 years) shows, they are now "... purchasing some or all of their DMPA (Depo-Provera) supplies independently ... The transition from donations to purchase was assisted by a World Bank loan for purchases in 1980-81".8 Bangladesh too has been the receipient of World Bank loans for trials with other steroidal contraceptives. There is apparently a growing link between the economic dependence of developing countries and the use and promotion of the newer hormonal contraceptives.
Back to Top