Archives of WHO

Costa Rica - Family Planning

Report from Costa Rica, part I

In 1969, Costa Rica, together with Chile, was the leader of an active campaign for family planning in Latin America.
With centres situated all over the country, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers and priests gave family planning classes and conferences and offered individual advices and consultations.

Photographer : Paul Almasy
Date : 1969
Copyright : WHO

Family Planning poster

A family planning poster.

Mothers and children in centre

In the medical centre of Tres Rios, as in all the other centres in the country, the vast majority of visitors are mothers bringing in their children. In 1969, more than 50% of the population of Costa Rica were children under 15 years of age.

School children
School children

These two photos illustrate the growth of the number of children of school age during the last 40 years. A coefficient of 9 in 1929 corresponded to a coefficient of 49 in 1969.

Mr Perera with family Orosco-Jimenez

Mr Augusto Perera (right), Director of the Department of Family Planning in the Ministry of Health, is the main instigator of the energetic campaign being carried out by the authorities throughout the country. In the photo, he is talking to the Orosco-Jimenez family in their home town of Alajuelita. (15,000 inhabitants in 1969, of which 7,620 were under 15 years of age).

Family Orosco-Jimenez

Mr Orosco-Jimenez is a tailor. The couple's income is not very high, but with only two children, they enjoy a good standard of living. The whole family is in good health, they always have enough to eat and the house is kept very clean.

Nurse Munoz Demassis with family Abarca-Gutierrez

A few houses further along, nurse Marina Munoz Demassis (left), who works for the Alajuelita health service, is visiting Mrs Abarca-Gutierrez who lives in a wooden hut with her husband and nine children.

Nurse Munoz Demassis with couple Abarca-Gutierrez

Since her husband is sick and unemployed, Maria Abarca-Gutierrez has to feed her nine children with 8 or 9 dollars a week, earned by doing odd jobs. The nurse shows the couple some posters illustrating the advantages and the necessity of family planning.