Ghana marks World Population Day tomorrow

Ghana will tomorrow, July 11, join the rest of the world to observe the World Population Day; a day that the concentration of the global populace is drawn to the significance of population issues.

It was first marked in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) following interest shown by the public when the world’s population reached five billion on July 11, 1987.

This year’s celebration which would be on the theme “Family Planning is a Human Right” would drum home the relevance of family planning and its impact on development as the global population scales up.

According to the most recent United Nations estimates elaborated by Worldometers, the current world population is 7.6 billion as of July 2018 as compared to 7.5 billion as of same period last year.

Ghana’s population is now estimated at 29.6 million up from the 24.5 million recorded during the 2010 Population and Housing Census, a Chief Statistician with the Ghana Statistical Service, David Kombat disclosed in March this year.

He said the country’s population growth rate was at an estimated 2.5 per cent annually while population has grown by more than 23 million people when the population was estimated at less than six million at independence in 1957.

Owing to the impact of the growing population on development, many Ghanaians including Former President Jerry John Rawlings have backed the National Population Council (NPC)’s push for control of Ghana’s population growth rate.

Former President Rawlings at the 23rd anniversary and fundraising service of Powerhouse Ministries International said one of the key factors for the country’s high poverty rate was the lack of family planning.

He predicted more challenges if measures were not put in place to curb the rate at which citizens give birth and that, giving birth to more children will among other things, put pressure on the country’s limited infrastructure and resources.

Executive Director of the NPC, Dr Leticia Appiah has repeatedly averred that Ghana’s population was growing beyond manageable levels and was heavily influencing the country’s development focus and preventing proper development planning by government.

Although legal and constitutional provisions on family planning in Ghana are non existence, various national policies and strategy plans have attempted to address the topic of family planning.

They include the Contraceptive Social Marketing project (1987-1990), the Ghana Family Planning and Health Programme (FPHP) (1990-1996), and the “Ghana Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan 2016-2020” (GFCIP).

But it appears more is needed to be done to achieve a desirable growth rate.

Tomorrow’s celebration which would be marked with  forums and other events, provides an opportunity  for all to  push for pragmatic measures including the adoption of small families as a means of managing the country’s fast growing population.

By Jonathan Donkor

 

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