Ghana on Monday outdoored the seven billionth child in Accra with a call on the society to ensure that the future of children is guaranteed.
“How do we ensure that this baby and the mother are healthy and the child in particular becomes a national asset in future?” First Lady, Naadu Mills, said at an official ceremony at the 37 Military Hospital to outdoor the child named Kwadwo, the traditional name given to a male child born on Monday in southern Ghana.
“This ceremony, no doubt, presents us with the opportunity to reflect on our population dynamics and their implications for our future generations,” Mrs Mills said.
She stressed the importance of family planning as a national priority and lauded the United Nations Population Agency for supporting family planning programmes in the country.
Mrs Mills called for the empowerment of women to take decisions on child birth – when to give birth, how many children to have and how to space them. She warned that too many children born by mothers at very young and old ages, could have negative consequences for the mother, the family and the nation as a whole.
Ghana has a population of 24.2 million with a growth rate of 2.4 per cent and she lauded the West African state for doing well in reducing fertility rate from about seven children per woman in the 1960s to four currently.
“Yet, by our standards as a middle income country a total fertility rate of four is still high,” Mrs Mills said.
Economic analysts say the economy would have to grow three times faster than the population growth rate for any meaningful impact on the lives of the people.
They point out that the country needs to focus on regulating child birth and ensuring rural development to ease the pressure on the urban cites.
Between 1984 and 2010, Ghana’s population almost doubled from 12.3 million to 24.2 with figure set to double by 2039.
The population has put some stress on the provision of facilities such as schools, health facilities, adequate food supply, affordable and decent housing, high income and better quality of life