Determinants of natural fertility in Sudan.

by M A Khalifa
Journal of biosocial science ()


The population of Sudan (North) is at a very early stage of fertility transition and experiences high, stable fertility at a close to natural level. The high observed fertility is found to be a function of the high proportion of married women and ineffective contraceptive procedures. The data used in this study were drawn from the 1979 Sudan Fertility Survey (SUDFS), in which 3115 ever-married women 50 years old from 12,028 households were interviewed. 90% of Sudanese women breast fed for at least 6 months and 80% for at least 12. The main inhibitor of fertility is perceived to be lactational amenorrhea averaging about 11.8 months, which is reported to be high, although among younger women the duration of amenorrhea is shorter due to earlier introduction of supplementary foods. An average of 5.2 months of postpartum sexual abstinence is evidenced, but this is shorter than the period of amennorhea, and therefore has no effect on the birth interval. Neither does marital instability or mean length of separation, which are both close to nonexistent. Sudanese women are comparatively very infecund. 22% gave birth within the 1st year of marriage, 62% within the 2nd, and 83% the 3rd. The proportion of ever-users of contraception is high (e.g. 15.4% among the 25-34 among category), but current use was low (8.1% for the same). The use of contraception is responsible for a reduction of 4.2% of the fertility per married woman. The duration of temporary separation between spouses, due to temporary or seasonal migration of husbands, and the pathological causes of high primary sterility, which contribute to the low fecundability, need further investigation.

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