Ghanaians Urged To Reduce Rate Of Fertility

Mrs.Sherry Ayittey,Minister of Health A demographic scholar at the University of Ghana, has asked Ghanaians to redouble their efforts to colour the country’s fertility rate further in order to reap its economic development.

Professor John K. Anarfi, who is with the Regional Institute for Population Studies of the University of Ghana, said current figures put Ghana in a position to gain from the decline in fertility rate if the necessary policies and infrastructures were put in place.

Currently, the country’s fertility rate is pegged at 4.0 with the working-population standing at 57.0 per cent as at 2010.

Speaking at a media sensitisation workshop in Accra on how Ghana can capitalise on its demographic dividends, Prof. Anarfi explained that the steady decline in fertility rate coupled with improved education, health, economy and good governance, would propel Ghana to achieve accelerated growth.

The workshop was organised by the National Development Planning Commission with support from the National Population Council, the United Nations Population Fund and Agence Francaise de Development.

It sought to equip the media with the requisite knowledge on demographic dividend and to sensitise Ghanaians on population and development issues to ensure development.

Prof. Anarfi said the decline in the fertility rate meant fewer expenses on dependants by families, and an increased in the working-age population relative to the other age groups.

For the country to continue to see its fertility rate decline further, he said there is the need to encourage the use of contraceptives, improve girl-child education and enhance the economic empowerment of women.

“We need to do everything to remain where we are now or bring it (fertility rate) further down to reap the demographic dividend,” he said.

Prof. Anarfi said that the decline in fertility rate would also have some consequences on the country’s population at the close of the window of opportunity. He explained that the population would by then be ageing and as such, he said it was important that policies are put in place to address the trend whenever it stares us in the face as a country.

Dr. Grace Bediako of the National Development Planning Commission, said the current knowledge gap calls for a partnership with the media to help bridge that gap so that the country would be on track to benefit from the window of opportunity.

She urged the media to use its powerful tool to inform the population of the need to tap into the demographic dividend. - Stephen Kwabena Effah

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