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Commemoration of World Population Day: Promote policies to end child marriage - NPC

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson
A large population without adequate social amenities is deemed a threat to national development
A large population without adequate social amenities is deemed a threat to national development

The National Population Council (NPC) has called for the promotion of policies, programmes and legislation that will help end child marriage, reduce teenage pregnancy and support evident-based and girl-centred investments.

The council also said existing laws against child marriage should be enforced, so that victims could seek protection and justice.

“The government, civil society, religious leaders and other partners must work together to ensure that girls attain heights in society,” the Greater Accra Regional Population Officer, Florence Hagan, said in Accra yesterday[August 10, 2022].

She was addressing the press as part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Population Day on the theme: “Prioritising rights and choices, harnessing opportunities: The road to a resilient future for all”.

Enabling environment

Mrs Hagan also stressed the need for the creation of an enabling environment that would provide the youth with choices and the ability to decide on the appropriate timing, spacing and number of children they wanted to have.

That, she said, was not only a basic human right but also a key to economic empowerment and the enhancement of the quality of life of the people, particularly the poor.

“But in many developing countries, such as Ghana, this right is being undermined by inadequate information and the lack of access to safe and modern forms of contraception,” she added.

According to Mrs Hagan, poor women, including the less-educated and rural folks, faced significant economic, cultural and institutional barriers in their quest to access birth control measures.

Consequently, she said, they often turned to dangerous forms of pregnancy prevention out of desperation, adding: “If women had universal access to voluntary family planning information and services, maternal and infant deaths could remarkably reduce.”

The officer said achieving the demographic dividend, as a nation, required that the size and distribution of the population, the current and projected age structure and the pace of its population growth be understood.

She added national needs must be matched with a sequence of short, medium and long-term investment that guaranteed the right of all, including the youth, to effectively plan their lives, be free from violence and trauma, be assured of essential freedoms and rights and also have access to quality education and mentorship.

Priority

The acting Deputy Greater Accra Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Farida Njelba Abdulai, said as the world population hit the eight billion mark, it was essential to prioritise and ensure that every individual had the right to make informed choices on whether, when and how many children to have.

She said her outfit would continue to work towards ensuring that family planning services were safe, acceptable, affordable, effective and geographically accessible.

According to Dr Abdulai, the GHS had made available a wide range of effective family planning commodities, including hormonal methods, such as pills, injection and implants, and non-hormonal ones, which are condoms and the cycle beads.