In his article titled The Population Myth carried in the September 22, 2018 edition of the Daily Guide Newspaper Dr Nii Moi Thompson wrote things about the National Population Council and
its Executive Director that created some false impressions that need to be corrected.
Dr. Thompson wrote that the NPC is “prosecuting an alarmist campaign’ which according to him ‘seems to be driven more by disregard for facts and history than
Clearly, his understanding of population and development does not include
There is too much of it out there describing the effect of higher birth order (and short birth intervals) on reproductive health outcomes (Stover and Ross, 2010; Susuman et al. 2016; Mishra et al. 2017; GSS et al. 2015, 2018).
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Births of order 4 and above are shown to increase the risk of infant and maternal mortality. This is one of the reasons why the 1994 revised Population Policy set a total fertility rate (TFR) target of 3 children by 2020. This is important because nations are developed by healthy people reproducing healthily and working to take care of them in a sustainable manner. Just as we have optimal blood pressure level.
A reference to the population policy or engagement with the NPC would inform anyone that the figure is not ‘whimsical or arbitrary’.
This policy target of three children was set as far back as1994 and is therefore not an agenda been pushed by the Executive Director of the NPC. As far back as 1969 when the first population policy was developed there were recommendations for exemptions including limiting maternal leave to three children. Just as limiting pension age in the public service to 60 years does not mean after 60 one cannot work in other organizations.
As we wish to reiterate, his understanding of development is that of a classical economist and does not include health,
For the information of the economist, age, birth interval and birth order (4+) are the demographic variables used in defining a high-risk pregnancy and are termed demographic risks.
He writes that ‘contrary to the campaign‘s repeated claims, Ghana does NOT face any imminent crises of population growth’.
He concludes the paragraph that Ghana has succeeded and ‘just needs to manage its success better’. Dr Thompson
Is this what he terms success that we should just manage? Of course, there
Population growth rate does affect health, education, employment, security among others. The size and population growth rate which are a function of birth rate, death rate and migration do matter because it acts as the supply of
A vicious cycle generated by a high dependency burden associated with a young age structure leads to low savings and investment per capita which in turn leads to low economic growth and a low standard of living.
They produced high fertility rates in turn thus heightens the dependency burden perpetuating the cycle. This vicious cycle could be broken at only two points. First at the high fertility stage primarily by introducing an effective family planning program and at the stage of low economic growth by adopting policies to accelerate economic growth.
To be successful, both actions must be pursued simultaneously. With this as a clue, I hope Dr Thompson understands why there is an ever-increasing cohort of school children and we keep building to accommodate them instead of improving quality. Other economists have stated that at 1% population growth rate, nations need between 6.5% and 7% of GDP to maintain the same quality of life. This is termed running to stand still. What does he say about this? Is this consumption or investment?
He states that we are growing at 2.2% which is fine, and therefore we need to sustain the growth. It is
When Dr Thompson blames the overthrow of Gaddafi on European failed to connect the dots properly. Why should the overthrow of Gaddafi lead to the influx of African migrants to Europe if economists had good ideas as MechaiViravaidya of Thailand who within 15 years from 1971 halved Thailand’s growth rate from 3.2% to 1.6% and increased use of contraceptives among married couples from 15% to 70% within the same
The population of Thailand in 1970 was about 37 million, in2016 it was about 68 million with a GDP per capita increased from $570 in 1960 to $ 5901 in 2016. How does this compare to our situation inGhana?
The claim by the economist that if indeed high population growth in Africa is the cause of migration, Africans should have been leaving
The high population growth rates he is referring to
About 40% of Ghana’s population was less than 15 years in 2010 and by 2035 all those surviving from this large cohort and still living in Ghana will enter the economically active population. That high population growth increases the need for employment. This is very well demonstrated by Linden in
Dr Thompson talks about European women having up to 8 children some 100 years ago and European countries have undergone demographic transition. It is right that some European women had up to 8 children at some point in history and a corresponding life expectancy of 30 years. In economics, the fact that one cannot talk about interest rate without inflation also applies to fertility rate and quality of life in population management.
European countries run the full course of the demographic transition from high
Unfortunately, some economists did not and still do not support family planning as a critical intervention to reduce fertility to match mortality decline contributing to our current state.
Yes, one huge change in Africa according to Robert Engelman is the mushrooming of gigantic cities. Ghana is urbanizing rapidly with most people
While it is true that fertility
In fact, recommending urbanization as a measure for further fertility decline is difficult to comprehend because Ghana’s greatest fertility decline was in the 1980’s when 70% of the country was rural and less literate.
As much as possible we try to present a balanced picture, but we see no problem comparing with world averages. That is exactly what an average is: it combines the best performing and the worst performing. Just as some countries in the world have TFRs less than 2, others have up to 6 so there is nothing wrong with world figures and the distortions he is talking about are only imaginary.
However, we shall limit our comparisons here to only developing countries as suggested or recommended by the economist.
According to the world population prospects estimate by UN 2010-2015, the growth rate of all less developed countries is 1.37% (against 2.39 for Ghana); a growth rate of 1.70% for less developed countries excluding
The last is 2.39% for least developed countries (against 2.39% for Ghana); The NPC will continue to present a balanced comparison of Ghana’s population indicators including global ones because there is a global agenda with common benchmarks for all countries.
About the wild allegation of the ‘NPC campaign [being] an unwitting extension of its European counterpart, which operates through “foreign aid”, we wish to ask what is driving his agenda. Is it driven by ‘aid’?
The vision of the NPC is quality life for the people of Ghana(children, teachers, nurses, mothers, fathers, doctors etc) not just