VICE President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur has urged development partners to support the government’s family planning programmes to enhance healthcare delivery services.
“Countries that have made investments in reproductive health and family planning have reaped multiple dividends and Ghana will make investments to regain the momentum in population programmes”, he said in a speech read on his behalf by Akwasi Opong-Fosu, Minister of State at Presidency, at the launch of ‘Ghana on the Rise’ and ‘Ghana RAPID’ in Accra yesterday.
The programme is to create awareness among decision and policy makers, community and opinion leaders on the impact of population growth on national development .
The programme was organised by the National Population Council and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Mr Amissah-Arthur said the country’s population was estimated to be 28.1 million of which 51.2 per cent were females.
He said to keep the country on course, a number of strategic interventions such as policies and programmes for the development of well-trained productive and healthy workforce were crucial.
Professor John Gyapong, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research Innovation and Development of the University of Ghana, said the government had, over the years, developed a number of policies and frameworks aimed at maintaining the population at a level that would promote accelerated socio-economic development.
“The country’s age structure reveals that about 40% of the population is aged below 15 years. Despite the decline in the fertility rate from 6.4 (1988) to 4.4 (1998), it remains at an average of four births per woman,” he said.
He stressed on the need to manage future population growth in order to avoid crowding out investment in key economic sectors of the economy such as energy, health, education, infrastructure and governance.
The Minister of State in-charge of Social and Allied Agencies, Mrs Comfort D. Cudjoe Ghansah, mentioned that populations of countries all over the world had served as the main drivers of development because population influences all aspects of a country’s social and economic development.
Ms Marian Kpakpah, Acting Executive Director, of the National Population Council, said the government had put in place several development planning policies and frameworks aimed at maintaining a population of high quality required for accelerated national socio-economic development.
The Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, noted that the integration of population issues into national development planning and reinforcement of family planning as a priority in national development had been identified as key objectives in national development policy frameworks.
By Anita Nyarko &Tracy Azumah