The population growth rate in the Northern Region has increased persistently from 2.8 per cent in 2000 to 2.9 in 2010.
A release issued by the Northern Regional Secretariat of the National Population Council (NPC) to mark this year’s World Population Day, which falls on July 11, each year, said, “in 1960, the Northern Region recorded a population of 531,573 and by 2010 the figure rose to 2,479,461. This meant that in 50 years we have added 947,888 to our population,” the release said.
According to the statement, the fertility rate in the region had remained high with a current fertility rate of 6.6 per cent, which is higher than the national figure of 4.2 per cent.
The statement also said the contraceptive prevalence rate in the region is 10.8 per cent against the national figure of 22.2 per cent, while the region has a high unmet need for family planning of 27.8 per cent.
17% of pregnancies in Ghana are unwanted - Population Council
Current growth rate
“The population has more than quadrupled in 50 years. At the current growth rate the population of the region is likely to hit 7 million by 2040 while the population of the region is estimated to be 2,993,554 in 2018, according to the NPC,” the release said.
The statement underscored the need for positive steps to address the current rapid population growth rate in the region.
It pointed out that the rapid population growth rate was being fuelled by early and forced child marriages of girls (teenage pregnancy) and lack of family planning services to the people.
It said the region’s results of census held in 1984, 2000 and 2010 indicate persistent high population rate respectively from 1,164,583 to 1,820,806 and to 2,468,557.
It said the huge challenge confronting the region in terms of family planning and the high growth rate, as well as other myriad of problems in the region could account for the population increase and, therefore, called for immediate intervention in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights, adding that human rights elements of availability, accessibility and quality was necessary.
The Regional Secretariat of the NPC in its release, therefore, called for concerted efforts to help reduce the population growth and to bring about sustainable development in the region and the country at large, through comprehensive family planning information, education and services which might impact positively on the quality of life.
“Family planning should, therefore, be recognised as a human right. As a human, it will allow families to decide on when, how, the number and spacing of their children.
“When this decision is taken by individuals, families, communities and the nation it will decrease the dependency rate, improve maternal and child health. It will change the social and economic position of women, there will be capital formation and savings that will bring about economic development and general well-being of the people, as well as creating jobs for the unemployed youth,” it stated.