Childbearing is noted to be one of the most important property couples and their families look out for as it is seen to be a blessing.
Married couples have at their disposal the ability to control reproduction. They can even take measures to prevent bearing children or increase the chances of having children.
If couples tend to decide on the number of children to bear based on their capability, why then should there be a policy to limit parents to a maximum of three children?
Ghana’s population is now estimated at 29.6 million, up from the 24.5 million recorded during the 2010 Population and Housing Census.
Other indicators from the United Nations World Population Review Report (2017) estimates that life expectancy for females in Ghana is 64 years, that for males is 62.1 years, with the fertility rate at 3.8 children per woman.
However the Population growth in the country currently appears to be uncontrolled, with some couples having more than 10 children.
As a result of this, the National Population Council (NPC) is pushing for the implementation of a policy that will direct couples to give birth to a maximum of three babies as a resolute measure to control population growth.
The main target of this Population policy is to help reduce the total fertility rate (that is, the number of children a woman is likely to have during her reproductive years) from 5.5 to 5.0 by 2000; 4.0 by 2010 and 3.0 by 2020.
The council is also proposing that severe sanctions will be imposed on couples who will exceed the restricted three babies.
Moreover in an interview, the Executive Director of the NPC, Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah, warned that the current annual growth rate of 2.5 per cent posed a threat to national development.
She therefore, asked the government to review and synchronize the free maternal health policy with the target of the total fertility rate, which advocated three children for every family.
Dr Appiah emphasized that; “The taxpayer must not be made to bear the cost of additional children by families who exceed the three children. No, it should not be a burden on the state and so we must review our social intervention programs to reflect this policy”.
The NPC boss further gave a requirement by asking the government to first ensure that its family planning service was easily made available, accessible and affordable.
“We need to balance between reproduction and production because some of our policies are at variance with the population policy,” she said.
Dr Appiah expressed fears that, Ghana is experiencing a rising population growth because some of its social intervention programs were at variance with the population policy. Therefore, it population would double 28 years from now at the current annual growth rate of 2.5 per cent.
Ghana’s population has grown by more than 23 million people since the country attained independence in 1957 when its population was about six million.
Dr Appiah, who is a medical doctor, recommended optimal birth spacing of between two and four years, as stipulated by the World Health Organization (WHO), to reduce maternal mortality, morbidity and the low birth rate.
Maternal mortality increases with higher birth rate, and when it is properly controlled it can reduce stunted growth among children.
This policy if implemented in one way or the other will help in regulating the population rate of the country. But then, won’t it tend to infringe upon the right of couples?
BY: Marcia Yeboah/pinkfmonlinegh.com