The associate professor with the Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana, Prof. Stephen Owusu Kwakye has said that the restriction of childbirth to three is needless.
The National Population Council (NPC) had earlier described the 2.5% annual population growth of Ghana as alarming, and as such, childbirth be limited to three per couple. In the opinion of the Executive Director of NPC, Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah, this policy will induce a quality of life of Ghanaians and reduce pressure on social amenities.
The claim by Dr. Appiah has been questioned by Prof. Kwakye; he sees nothing new about this year’s rate. According to him, the population growth rate used to be 3% in the 70s, and 2.7% in the past years, but we are now at 2.5% per annum. This, he describes as a positive development. He cautioned Ghanaians not to complain because the country has a great advantage with its growth.
‘Looking at the population structure, it is showing that we have some positive development which we should take advantage of instead of lamenting that 2.5% is alarming. Especially if you’re not in the position to say that all of it is coming from fertility. We have mortality, fertility, and migration as well. As at now, we are not even sure of the contribution of migration to our population growth because we don’t have the data. If you have a growth rate 2.5% and you have a population structure below 15 years shrinking, then you should also have a mind to say that a growth rate of 2.5% is not because fertility is that high and therefore I am not too sure whether to describe our population growth as alarming.’ He said.
For Prof. Kwakye, it is critical to expand the economy to provide jobs for the teeming mass of the population of the youth adding that, ‘Ghana has moved beyond mere numbers when the economy expands with adequate provision of jobs and skills for people. They themselves will become the human resource that will turn the economy around. You don’t need the numbers, the quality is what is important.’ According to him, he doesn’t see how anybody can legislate that nobody should have more than three children, and he doesn’t think it’s feasible.
‘…if you say nobody should have more than three, I can assure there are some who have only one but cannot take care of them while others have five and can take care of them.’ He mentioned.
He suggested that people be sensitized on the need for birth control, and to present them with affordable and accessible family planning methods, empower women by educating the girl child not forgetting the boy child, and to manage resources well to create jobs for the youth, Ghana will develop socially and economically.
Article By: Nora Asiedu