7 Billionth Baby

Add a comment October 31st, 2011  
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7 Billionth Baby, At a crowded public hospital, Seun Dupe’s twin boys squirm underneath a bundled-up mosquito net as they share the same bassinet.

7 Billionth Baby

Already they are part of the swelling tide of history, as the U.N. on Monday marked the world population reaching 7 billion amid fears of how the planet will cope.

That strain is already apparent at Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, where the droning roar of a generator could be heard throughout one hot ward as it powered the slowly rotating ceiling fans and incubators. While Nigeria is oil-rich, its power grid doesn’t produce anywhere near enough electricity for its more than 160 million people.

Dupe, a 32-year-old hairdresser, remains an optimist even as experts warn of the staggering burden facing Africa’s most populous nation and other developing countries. Officials say Nigeria’s megacity of Lagos is expected to surpass Cairo as the continent’s most populous.

“Where there is life, there is hope,” says Dupe, who has yet to decide on her boys’ names. “So I know Nigeria will be a great nation.”

Amid the millions of births and deaths around the world each day, it is impossible to pinpoint the arrival of the globe’s 7 billionth occupant. But the U.N. chose Monday to mark the day with a string of festivities worldwide, and a series of symbolic 7 billionth babies being born.

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