“Reposition Family Planning as economic intervention” – Dr. Leticia Appiah

Accra – Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah, Executive Director of National Population Council, (NPC) Thursday urged policy makers to reposition the Family Planning System as an economic intervention policy towards achieving an effective management of the population.

This, she said, would allow for quality investments over time in health care, education, employment and ensure good governance.

Speaking at a media workshop, organised by the NPC, aimed at empowering the media on Population Management, Dr. Appiah said an unhealthy and less productive population perpetuated the poverty cycle and sustained a youthful population.

This, she said, would result in high expenditure for containing situations related to health, education and security and put pressure on other social amenities.

According to her, a 2017 data available to the Council on the implications of a youthful population indicated that 23.4 per cent or 6.8 million Ghanaians were poor (that is could not afford to spend Ghc4.82 per day), 8.2 per cent which was equivalent to 2.4 million people were extremely poor (that is, could not afford to spend Ghc2.69 per day) – a phenomenon she attributed to the lack of stringent measures put in place to control population growth.

As a result of the youthfulness of the population, she said, only 1.5 million out of the total population size of more than 29 million Ghanaians paid tax; more than one million of which were in the formal sector.

Dr. Appiah said girls who were less than 18 years who became pregnant were likely to have inefficient reproduction.

Seventeen per cent of pregnancies recorded in Ghana are unplanned, with 14 per cent being teenage pregnancies, while 27 per cent are as a result of child marriage.

She, therefore, advised women, especially teenagers to adopt the family planning policy to help avert inefficient reproduction and all associated problems.

Professor Augustine Ankomah, the Country Director of the Population Council Office, said the economy of a country grew when the age structure and dependency ratios changed.

He said this occurred when there was a significant decline in birth rates.

According to him, governments all over the world had a 30 to 50 year window of opportunity to capitalise on the larger share of the working age population, if productively employed for economic development and growth.

He said the aggregate of the family was what made the economy because a small-sized family meant an increase in savings and investments, which resulted in improved lives.

He, however, explained that the use of contraceptive did not mean a reduction in population but was it was meant to reduce the growth of the size of the family.

Source: Ghana News Agency