TOGO BACKGROUND INFORMATION


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GEOGRAPHY

The republic of Togo has a 34-mile/55-km.coastline on the Gulf of Guinea and extends inland for about 336 miles/540 k.m., being bordered to the west by Ghana, to the north by Burkina Faso and to the east by Benin. Moving inland, a sandbar- and lagoon- scattered coast gives way to the terre de barre, a belt of red loamy soil about 328 ft/100 m. above sea level supporting maize, cassava, oil palm, sweet potatoes and beans. Farther inland is the drier Mano tableland with poorer soils on which yams, groundnuts and cotton are the main crops. Cutting across this belt in a northeasterly direction are the Togo-Atacora Mountains, which reach a height of 3,280 ft/1,000 m. in the west. Well wooded in the relatively wet south, they support coffee and cocoa production. North of these uplands is a plateau area and the Bogou scarp reaching a height of 1,640 ft/500 m., and beyond this, granite flatlands with poor soils but a relatively dry ‘gap’ between the wetter eastern Ghanaian and western Nigerian coasts, its natural vegetation shows little variation from a savanna type except for high forests on parts of the Togo ranges.

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PEOPLE

Togo’s population is composed of about 21 ethnic groups. The two major ones are the Ewe in the south and the Kabye in the north.

Population distribution is very uneven due to soil and terrain variations. The population is generally concentrated in the south and along the major north-south highway connecting the coast to the Sahel. Age distribution is also uneven; more than one-half of the Togolese are less than 15 years of age. The ethnic groups of the coastal region, particularly the Ewes (about 25% of the population), constitute the bulk of the civil servants, professionals, and merchants, due in part to the former colonial administrations which provided greater infrastructure development in the south. The Kabye (15% of the population) live on submarginal land and traditionally have emigrated south from their home area in the Kara region to seek employment. Their historical means of social advancement has been through the military and law enforcement forces, and they continue to dominate these services.

Most of the southern peoples use the Ewe or Mina languages, which are closely related and spoken in commercial sectors throughout Togo. French, the official language, is used in administration and documentation. The public primary schools combine French with Ewe or Kabye as languages of instruction, depending on the region. English is spoken in neighboring Ghana and is taught in Togolese secondary schools. As a result, many Togolese, especially in the south and along the Ghana border, speak some English.

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STATUS OF NATIONAL POLICY

The government of Togo has not yet elaborated an official population policy and population concerns center around health issues. However, Family Planning is adopted as a strategy to reduce infant and maternal mortality. Awareness among the country’s leadership as to the relationship between population growth and socioeconomic development does exist. The government accepts FP as part of its health and population program and feels it has to be integrated into the MCH network. Similarly, the government allows FP services in its health facilities, and official declarations have been in favor of these programs.

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DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE DELIVERY

Services are provided through public health facilities that include hospitals at regional and perfectoral levels with a role of supervision of peripheral health units that also provide services. At the peripheral units, services are provided by Midwives and/or state certified nurses (infirmiers d’etat) as well as by auxilliary midwives who provide non-clinical methods at the rural dispensaries. Physicians are essential providers at the hospital level.

Service delivery is also organized through private clinics at ATBEF (the IPPF affiliate), but other private sector participation is still low. Essential funds are provided by USAID with a contribution by UNFPA.

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OTHER ACTIVITIES

USAID funds covered the construction of the Togo Family Health Training Center, training activities for social and health professionals as well as curriculum development (INTRAH, CEDPA, JHPIEGO), equipment, commodities and contraceptive supply. Through SEATS, emphasis has been put on quality of services and supervision as well as extension of services in health facilities. Some clinical equipment and contraceptives have been supplied to the clinics where ATBEF developed services. Although no national IEC strategy has been defined by the government, ATBEF has been the principal actor for IEC activities (with material productions) throughout the country and has developed a motivator program that is being extended to a CBD program involving local participation in contraceptive cost-recovery. CARE is also doing IEC with a motivator program at the community level. FNUAP has contributed a contraceptive supply (depo-provera).

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AIDS

Epidemiological situation

Togo’s first AIDS case was reported in 1987. As of August, 1995 a total of 5,109 cases were reported. The working estimate of HIV prevalence (1992) is 160,000. A prevalence of 4.3% in the general population is estimated by the government. Togo is experiencing an HIV/AIDS epidemic of significant risk and low prevalence. In 1992, HIV seroprevalence indicated: pregnant women/Lome 16.49%;STD patients/Lome 45.16%; Commercial sex workers (CSW)/Lome 78.86%; blood donors 5-20%; 91% of infections are HIV I.

The WHO Global Program on AIDS, (http:gpawww.who.ch/aidscase/current.htm) Information current as of 27/11/1995

References: State Department Background Notes, Africa: Facts on File, REDSO Preliminary Reports

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