The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, yesterday launched the World Population Day (WPD) in Accra, to raise awareness on population issues.
Set aside by the United Nations, it highlights the problems of increasing population as well as raising awareness about the effects of over-population on the environment and planet.
It was globally held on the theme, “Putting the brakes on COVID-19: safeguarding the health of women and girls now.”
In a speech read on his behalf, Dr Bawumia expressed appreciation to the National Population Council (NPC) and its partners for making the event possible and working effectively to promote the well-being of women in the country.
According to the Vice President with the current global population of 7.8 billion and an estimated 9 billion people by 2050, Ghana and the world at large would need to prioritise population issues in order to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstance.
Referencing a study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), he revealed that 800 women globally die every day during the process of childbirth hinting that, if the lockdown continued for six months across the world with continued major disruption to healthcare and services, 47 million women in low and middle income countries might not have access to modern contraceptives to help minimise rapid growth of the world’s population.
This, he said, could lead to seven million unintended pregnancies as well as rise in gender based violence , female genital mutilation and child marriages and thus threaten the transformative results attained so far in raising the health conditions of women.
Dr Bawumia said the dedicated theme of this year’s WPD assumes critical significance with its primary aim and importance to ensure greater awareness and advocacy for people to boost their sexual and reproductive health and heed to the importance of family planning.
Highlighting the way forward, the Minister for Gender and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison, said population growth constantly acts as a hurdle in effectively addressing the problem of poverty, hunger and malnutrition and in providing the better quality of health and education, with limited resources.
‘COVID-19 has accentuated these challenges and also raised concerns on the timely attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). It is therefore important to understand that in order to have a better future for all on a healthy planet, attainment of SDGs is critical’, she noted
She said government through her ministry had taken the onus to promote awareness and advocate the sexual and reproductive rights of women.
The Board of Director of NPC, Dr Gladys Norley Ashitey, in her submission said, the key stakeholders involved in the empowerment of women needed to be committed to well researched planning and implementation to harness the population growth for the maximum economic benefit of the society and county.
She said there was the need for a proactive measure to avert the unfortunate within the short, medium term run.
‘Provision of adequate education and training to the large young population would ensure them to be productive, effective and competent, thereby proving themselves as key contributors to economic growth’