Tuesday, March 13, 2007

World population to reach 9.2B in 2050

World population to reach 9.2B in 2050

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

51 minutes ago

UNITED NATIONS - The world's population will likely reach 9.2 billion in 2050, with virtually all new growth occurring in the developing world, a U.N. report said Tuesday.

According to the U.N. Population Division's 2006 estimate, the world's population will likely increase by 2.5 billion people over the next 43 years from the current 6.7 billion — a rise equivalent to the number of people in the world in 1950.

Hania Zlotnik, the division's director, said an important change in the new population estimate is a decrease in expected deaths from AIDS because of the rising use of anti-retroviral drugs and a downward revision of the prevalence of the disease in some countries.

The new report estimates 32 million fewer deaths from AIDS during the 2005-2020 period in the 62 most affected countries, compared with the previous U.N. estimate in 2004.

This change contributed to the slightly higher world population estimate of 9.2 billion in 2050 than the 9.1 billion figure in the 2004 estimate, the report said.

The report also said most population growth will take place in less developed countries, whose numbers are projected to rise from 5.4 billion in 2007 to 7.9 billion in 2050. The populations of poor countries like Afghanistan, Burundi, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, East Timor and Uganda are projected to at least triple by mid-century.

By contrast, the total population of richer countries is expected to remain largely unchanged at 1.2 billion. The report said the figure would be lower without expected migration of people from poorer countries, averaging 2.3 million annually.

According to the report, 46 countries are expected to lose population by mid-century, including Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and most of the former Soviet republics.

Zlotnik said most countries in Asia and Latin America have reached the "relatively beneficial stage" of having more working-age adults than children or elderly in their populations, "and they will remain in that stage for at least two more decades."

But their populations will then start to age, heading in the same direction as Europe and North America, she said.

"Europe is the only region at this moment where the number of people aged 60 and over has already surpassed the number of children," she said. "We expect that Asia and Latin America will have by 2050 an age distribution that is very similar to the one that Europe has today."

African countries will have an increase of working-age adults by 2050, but the continent's overall population will also nearly double in that time, Zlotnik said.

"So it is the continent that is going to have to absorb a very high increase, and it will have to absorb it at levels of development that are the very lowest that we have in this world," she said.


Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bangladesh immunises 24 million children against polio

Sat Mar 3, 2:45 AM ET

DHAKA (AFP) - More than 700,000 health workers fanned out across Bangladesh on Saturday to immunise 24 million children against polio after the disease made a surprise comeback last year, an official said.

Since January last year, 17 new cases of the disease have been reported, prompting the latest campaign. Before that, no new cases had been declared since 2000, when the government carried out a series of immunisation drives.

Across Bangladesh, parents queued for the polio vaccines to be administered to their children at more than 140,000 health centres, the government's immunisation programme manager Abdul Qader said.

"We were worried about weather because there were rains in much of the country yesterday. But today the weather is perfect. We hope we will achieve our target of immunising 24 million under-five children today," he added.

All the country's non-government organisations were roped in to help with the massive immunisation drive, and hundreds of thousands of mosques and temples used to spread the message.

"Out of the five-man team in every centre, three are members of NGOs. We have joined forces to eradicate polio from Bangladesh," he added.

Volunteers will visit door-to-door in the next four days to vaccinate children, and mobile immunisation teams will be sent to bus and railway stations, airports and brothels.

The government has laid special emphasis on immunising children along the border with India, which has a large number of new polio cases.

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