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Bull Hist Med. 2018;92(4):664-693. doi: 10.1353/bhm.2018.0075.

The Origins of Family Planning in Tunisia: Reform, Public Health, and International Aid.

Abstract

This article explores the origins of the national family planning program in Tunisia during the 1960s. It moves beyond previous interpretations of the global population control movement that emphasized external intervention at the hands of international organizations. Instead it analyzes the mutually beneficial partnership between Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba and the Population Council, an American organization committed to reducing population growth. Using Tunisian sources and Population Council records, it argues that after independence in 1956, Bourguiba sought to address France's underdevelopment of public health during the colonial period with robust reforms and international aid. Implementing a family planning program enabled Bourguiba to acquire resources that contributed to training Tunisian medical personnel, funding clinics and health services, and increasing the distribution and circulation of contraception. This article demonstrates that actors in the Global South were not mere beneficiaries of international health initiatives following decolonization; they were active participants and negotiators of their implementation at home.

PMID:
30613047
DOI:
10.1353/bhm.2018.0075
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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