Health News of Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Population boom looms

Ghana’s population is said to be fragile as it is growing faster than what the economy can support, the National Population Council (NPC) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have said.

With a present population of almost 27 million, it is estimated that the country’s population would be at a peak of 60 million by 2050 if nothing is done about it.

These came to light when the NPC and the GHS jointly launched this year’s celebration of Family Planning Week in Accra yesterday. The ceremony was also used to launch the Ghana Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan 2016-2020 and the National Condom and Lubricant Strategy 2016-2020 policy documents.

The occasion also coincided with the celebration of World Contraception Day.

It is estimated that Ghana needs GH¢906m to carry out a vigorous family planning campaign in the next five years to help curb population growth.

The implementation of the two policy documents would help in the training, monitoring, evaluation, as well as provide services and consumables for promoting family planning.

Dr Patrick Aboagye, Director of the Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said currently, the country had a young population of age 0-14, which represented approximately 41.0 percent of the total population.

He said the youthful population had an in-built momentum for further rapid growth when they reached their reproductive ages.

To contain the rate of population growth, the President of the National House of Chiefs, Professor Naa John S. Nabila, appealed to traditional rulers to join hands in the education of the youth about sexuality.

He indicated that since the youth were already sexually active, there was the need to educate them on the right use of condoms and the other contraceptive choices that they had in order to help curb the population boom that was looming in the country.

Professor Nabila, who is also a Member of the Council of State, called on religious leaders to also embrace sexual education for the youth in the churches, saying that already, queen mothers had started educating the youth in their various localities but said there was the need for more momentum to be built.

The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Victor Asare Bampoe, who represented the Minister of Health, Mr Alex Segbefia, said the government’s resolve to increase family planning had not waned and stressed the need to ensure that family planning needs became an integral part of the population.

A representative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Ms Akua Kwateng Addo, and a representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ms Damian Hill, in their solidarity messages, pledged their continuous support to ensure that family planning worked in the country.

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, in a welcome address, noted that family planning was a key missing link in the country’s changing economic needs, as well as the missing link in the health and well-being of the people.

He said the government was working to ensure that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) absorbed issues that bordered on family planning.