By Lydia Kukua Asamoah, GNA
Accra, July 13, GNA - As the world marks the 50th anniversary of the World’s Population Day this year, the National Population Council (NPC) has expressed concern about Ghana’s Population, which does not match with its available infrastructural facilities.
These infrastructures needs are in health, education, food support, housing, roads sectors, among others.
This, the Council said, had resulted in pressure on available facilities and the facilitators, including teachers and health workers.
The NPC said the Population and Housing census (PHC) puts the population growth rate at 2.5 per cent per annum, which shows that Ghana's population was still growing rapidly.
The PHC report indicated that the age structure of the population was dominated by young people, with about 40 per cent under age 15 (PHC, 2010), which implies that, Ghana has high dependency ratio due to unemployment and underemployment.
Ms Florence Hagan, Greater Accra Regional Director of the National Population Council Secretariat, however, said the country’s population dynamics could be turned into a valuable demographic dividend if investments were made in reproductive health programmes, including family planning.
“This will help achieve a lower fertility rate and a more balanced age structure that would lead to improved and sustained quality of life for the people of Ghana.
“Voluntary family planning commodities, though cheap, plays a critical role in enabling couples and individuals to realise their reproductive preferences, thereby shaping the country's demographic path.
“It will simultaneously improve health, education, raising standard of living and increasing savings to develop other sectors of the economy”, Ms Hagan said in an interview with the GNA in Accra.
In a message to mark the day, Ms Hagan also expressed her joy that Ghana had scaled up service delivery on sexual and reproductive health/rights among other health care provisions by the introduction of the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) programme.
She said trained nurses were also stationed in selected communities to provide health care services to members of such communities.
The World Population day is marked on July 11, every year, to focus attention on the role and the importance of population as a factor in the development processes.
The global theme for this year is "Family Planning is a Human Right", while the national celebrations was themed: "Family Planning is a Human Right: An Imperative to Sustainable Economic Development".
Ghana’s launch was held at Sokode Gbogame in the Volta Region.
Ms Hagan said family planning had been affirmed as a Human Right issue and as a basic right of parents, and individuals to enable them to decide on the number and spacing of their children.
She noted that the NPC stated targets as captured in the Population Policy included; to reduce total fertility rate (TFR) from 5.5 births per woman in 1993 to 3.0 by 2020; to archive a contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) with modern methods of 15 per cent per annum in 2000 to 50 per cent by 2020; to reduce the population growth rate from about 3.0 per cent per annum in 2010 to 1.5 per cent by 2020; and to Increase life expectancy to 70 years by 2020.
She said the attainment of these population targets was recognised as the integral component of the national strategy to accelerate economic development, eradicate poverty and to enhance the quality of life of all Ghanaians.
Ms Hagan appealed to the Government to do more by providing the needed logistics and health infrastructure to improve availability and accessibility of health care services and advocacy on family planning.
She commended all of the Council’s partners, including the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, CHAG health facilities, Marie Stopes International, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana and all who were working hard to provide services and advocating that family planning was the way to go.