The Executive Director for the National Population Council (NPC), Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, has called for a national campaign to fight child marriages and teenage pregnancies as way to reduce the pace of population growth in the country.
Ghana’s growth rate is about 2.5% with an estimated population of about 29.46 million, up from the official 2010 census figure of 24.2 million.
Speaking on the Morning Xpress on Radio XYZ 93.1MHZ on Monday, Dr Appiah noted that the country’s population is growing quite higher and has the tendency to affect the country’s economy negatively if practical measures are not taken to slow down the growth.
She advocated for adolescents to have fair knowledge on Reproductive health while authorities device pragmatic steps to reduce teenage pregnancy which is one of the contributory factors to the fast population growth in Ghana.
“2.5% growth rate is a bit difficult for any country to develop [with]. . .All of us as a nation, we have to make sure that the adolescents have Reproductive health services and the knowledge and way to access it,” Dr Appiah indicated while she asked for authorities to make the services available to teenagers as a way to reducing the rampant teenage pregnancies.
She said another way of reducing the population growth was to make accessible contraceptives to women in their reproductive age as a tool to control birth, saying “they should also have access contraceptives.”
“A lot of women in between births need contraceptives but probably because it is not available or easily accessible, they are not accessing it and that is why abortions are going up. We need to focus and drive aggressively at contraceptives,” she added.
She said in 1994, the National population Council’s policy was to at least, get 50% of married women to use contraceptives as a way to controlling births but in 2018, the intake rate is “less than 25%” which, to her, is not the best because unsafe abortions, unwanted pregnancies and maternal mortality will go up.
Family planning, Dr Appiah noted, is the best way to reducing the population growth to improve the economy of the country and the human rights of its citizens.
To her, spacing up births is very good practice which the married should adopt so the lives of their children will be quality in terms of nutrition and personal development.
She further urged government to use some of its policies to promote the education on family planning and support the fight against teenage pregnancies in the country.