Mauritania is in northwest Africa, and has an Atlantic seacoast. It borders with Senegal, Algeria, Ghana, and western Sahara. It was a French colony until it gained independence in 1960. Mauritania has a population of 3 million (2005 estimate), a birth rate of 41 per 1,000, and an infant mortality rate of 69.5 per 1,000 live births. The country's fertility rate is 5.7 births per woman (2008), is the 15th highest in the world; the maternal mortality rate at 1 per 100 births is also one of the highest in the world. The neonatal mortality rate in 70 per 1,000 live births.

Only 5 percent of women report using modern methods of contraception, and abortion is only legal to save the woman's life. During the colonial ...

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