Government must prioritise SRHR to achieve sustainable development-NPC

Wa, Aug. 05, GNA – The National Population Council (NPC) has urged the government to prioritise the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of adolescent girls and women as part of efforts to achieve the desired accelerated and sustainable development the country yearns for.

It said that would help control the national population growth to be in tandem with the available resources of the country in meeting the health, education, and other social needs of the people.

Mr Abu Salifu, the Upper West Regional Population Officer of the NPC, said this in Wa during the commemoration of the 2022 World Population Day (WPD) on the national theme: “Prioritizing rights and choices; harnessing opportunities, the road to a resilient future for all.”

The global event is commemorated on July 11 annually since 1989 to trigger discussion on population growth and its related issues that supported or hindered accelerated socio-economic development.

Mr Salifu explained that the failure of the country to prioritise SRHR of girls led to unmet needs for Family Planning and its attendant teenage pregnancies and child marriages, which had dire consequences on the population growth with rippling effects on national development.

“Child marriage disproportionately affects young girls with far-reaching consequences that negatively impact not only the lives of children who are married but also the lives of those around them and the nation at large”, he observed.

The Population Officer added that prioritising SRHR of women and girls would also lead to bridging the gender inequality and inequity gaps that existed in health, education, and employment, which were pre-requisite for sustainable development.

Mr Munawar Koray, a Senior Nursing Officer at the Upper West Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service, noted that teenage pregnancy had been a serious development challenge to the country.

He explained that the region currently had a teenage pregnancy rate of about nine per cent while the Wa Municipality currently had about four per cent rate, a reduction from about 4.40 per cent rate last year.

He said there was the need for increased efforts to reduce the menace to the barest minimum through the promotion and use of contraceptive measures, as the effects of teenage pregnancy transcended beyond the teenage mother to the family and the society at large.

“Teenage pregnancy leads to an unending cycle of poverty in the family, but this poverty cycle can be broken by the use of Family Planning measures”, Mr Koray observed.

Madam Umuhaira Umoru, a Midwife at the Kambali Health Centre in Wa, expressed worry about the low male involvement and support for their wives in accessing Family (FP) services.

She said the fear of stigma and ridicule shunned some females from visiting the facilities to access FP services saying: “Some women hide to come and do it, their husbands don’t support them.”

The global theme for this year’s WPD: “A world of 8 billion: towards a resilient future for all, harnessing opportunities and ensuring rights and choices”, sought to draw attention to the world population growth expected to hit about eight billion by the end of this year.

Tailors and dressmakers apprentices and a cross-section of the Kambali community, largely women, attended the event.

Source: Ghana News Agency