The Deputy Director of Public Health at the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate, Dr John B. Eleeza, has said the country’s population growth rate could create imbalances in the economy if not controlled.
He, therefore, underscored the need for the government to make conscious efforts at controlling population growth to ensure quality life and sustainable development in the country.
According to the National Population Council (NPC), Ghana’s population is projected at a little over 28 million while the annual population growth rate is 2.6 per cent against global acceptable rate of 1.5 per cent.
Dr Eleeza was speaking at a press conference organised by the Greater Accra Regional office of the NPC as part of its post-World Population Day celebration, which is marked on July 11.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “Family planning: healthy people for sustainable national development.”
According to Dr Eleeza, although the country’s population figures were not extreme, there was the need to start implementing policies to control the growth rate.
He explained that there could be a mismatch between population growth and the country’s resources if it was not controlled, a situation which could lead to unemployment, housing deficit, conflicts and chaos.
The director pointed out that uncontrolled population growth increased government spending, affected quality of life of citizens, as well as the environment and indeed all sectors of the economy.
“We need to slow down the rate of population growth to meet our limited resources, as well as achieve the sustainable development goals. High population growth, for instance, can significantly limit opportunities for employment,” Dr Eleeza said.
Between now and 2050, he noted, the labour force in developing countries would increase by 33,000 persons per day in countries where already about 80 per cent of the workforce was unemployed.
That, he said, would require unprecedented economic growth to provide jobs for all such people.
Dr Eleeza recommended increased investment in family planning, stressing, “Increasing access to family planning services is vital to sustainable development.”
“Many countries that have managed to significantly reduce fertility rate have experienced significant economic growth and poverty reduction,” he stated.
An officer at the Greater Accra Regional office of the NPC, Ms Florence Hagan, explained that the council had a target to reduce the number of children per couple from four to three in its policy.
The council, she said, was currently advocating the implementation of the policy to manage the population growth in the country.
According to her, the national prevalence rate of family planning was 22 per cent, for which reason she called on the people to seek family planning services, which include the use of contraceptives.