The Trouble with Family Planning in Indonesia
Terence H. Hull, Australian National University
The Indonesian family planning program is in trouble, but the biggest problem it faces is identifying the nature of that trouble. Politicians believe that the nation faces baby booms, population explosion and collapse of family planning services. They fear that demographic achievements of the last four decades are being swept away. This paper critically reviews the data to show that fertility decline is more solid than might appear at first sight. Contrary to the estimates of the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey, current fertility is found to be at or below replacement levels. The contraceptive mix is where the greatest problems lie. Government policies have led to a loss of method choice and a narrowing of the range of approved family planning providers, but an expansion in the number of private providers of questionable quality. Thus, while fertility may continue to fall, the quality of reproductive health care is worsening.