UNFPA State of the World Population Report 2018 launched

BY: Sebastian Syme

One of the highlights of the national faith-based organisations conference on comprehensive sexuality education, was the launch of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) State of the World Population Report 2018.

The four-day conference, which ended in Accra last Wednesday , brought together various religious heads to brainstorm on finding a lasting solution to the challenges in Ghana’s demographic system with respect to reproductive rights and demographic transition.

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Addressing the conference, the UNFPA Country Representative, Mr Niyi Ojuolape, said the conference was inextricably linked to the three transformational goals of the UNFPA, which are zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices.

He said population issues in all forms directly and indirectly affected the quality of life of the individual and family, which was a core business of the UNFPA.

Touching on the State of World Population Report, the UNFPA representative highlighted portions of the report, noting that, family size was closely linked with reproductive rights, which in turn, were tied to many other rights including the right to health, education and employment.


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Funds committed

The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mrs Heather Cameron, whose country sponsored the report and the conference, said the Canadian government had committed $640 million for the global commitment to improve sexuality rights.

She deplored the current statistics which established that one out of five girls were married before their 18th birthday and one out of every 200 adolescent girl between 15-19 years died during pregnancy.

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She underscored the need for stakeholders to work to improve the situation in the context of doing everything possible to prevent such avoidable deaths.

“Canada believes, gender equality, women empowerment and addressing gender barriers and other associated factors are key to ensuring a better world,” Mrs Cameron added.

The General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr Cyril Fayorse, said the mandate of Christians was to bring light where there was darkness and as such the Christian Council had over the years been actively involved in sex education and gender quality.

He indicated that the council had equally been a strong advocate against child labour and child trafficking and all other forms of ill treatment against children.

Presentation

An association professor at the Regional Institute for Population Studies at the University of Ghana, Prof. Stephen O. Kwankye, made a presentation on reproductive health, comprehensive sexual education and demographic transition.

Among other areas his presentation touched on, were reproductive health and rights, implications for high population and implications for low fertility.

He alluded to institutional, legal and economic barriers as some of the factors militating against the rights to reproductive health.

He said there was a trend towards a global reduction in fertility but the rate was higher in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof. Kwankye remarked that the barriers to reproductive health were known and required to be addressed through the power of choice that could be enhanced through a comprehensive sexuality education.

Launching the 2018 UNFPA State of World Population Report, the Deputy Minister of Chieftaincy and Religions Affairs, Mr Paul Essien, expressed the government’s commitment to support the UNFPA to achieve the transformational goals it had set for itself.