The Executive Director of the National Population Council (NPC), Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, has called on government to prioritise issues of reproductive health and see them not just as economic, but also a security threat.
According her, with the world’s population projected to hit 8 billion by end of the year, it was important for Ghana and for that matter Africa to reduce its population growth rate to sustainable levels for national development.
“For Africa to reduce its population growth rate to sustainable levels for national development, and create the Africa we want and Ghana beyond Aid, I suggest a concerted effort at reducing or eliminating child marriage, teen pregnancy and unmet need for family planning should attract attention and commitment from all stakeholders especially the media, the economists, the traditional, religious and political leadership,” she said.
Dr Appiah disclosed this at the launch of this year’s World Population Day in Accra yesterday.
The World Population Day is celebrated annually to draw attention to issues of the world’s population and factors militating against sustainable development.
This year’s global theme is: “A world of 8 billion: towards a resilient future for all, harnessing opportunities and ensuring rights and choices” with the local theme being; “Prioritising rights and choices; harnessing opportunities, the road to a resilient future for all.”
DrAppiah noted that for a sustainable socio-economic development of Ghana and Africa, sexual and reproductive health policy should be seen and treated as an economic and a security policy.
She said there was the need for the country to prioritise rights and choices in addressing unmet need for family planning, child marriage and teen pregnancy in line with our national theme and some recommendations.
Touching on the world’s population, she said globally, the United Nations World Population Prospects recorded 139,821,086 births and 60,119,439 deaths in 2021 while Europe welcomed 4,047,432 births and recorded 5, 186,787 deaths.
She said Africa recorded 49, 034,104 births and 13, 378,519 deaths with Nigeria welcoming 8,424, 582births and buried 2, 777,541.
“In Ghana, our births stood at 1,053,400 and deaths 288,378. The difference between births and deaths is the net increase Europe’s population decreased by over a million people and Africa’s increased by over 35 million in 2021 alone with Ghana contributing over 700,000,” she stressed.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL