Stakeholders including government, non-governmental and other civil society agencies have been called upon to make significant investments in reproductive health services in order to address poverty and inequalities in the country.
According to the National Population Council (NPC) secretariat in Tamale, poverty and inequality are the main issues that limit people’s access to sexual reproductive health and right information services in the communities and the country at large.
This was contained in a statement signed and issued to Diamond News by the Northern Regional Director of the National Population Council, Alhaji Issifu Seidu Iddi in marking this year’s World Population Day celebration on July 11.
The United Nations Governing Council following recommendations in 1987 instituted July 11 as World Population Day; to focus attention on global events on population and this year’s celebration is under the theme “prioritizing reproduction health is an answer to rights of choices.”
The statement acknowledged that several gains made over the years in the area of sexual and reproductive health; modern contraceptive usage for married women aged 15 to 49 increased from 10.8 to 17 percent in the region.
It added that despite the gains made, the Northern Region still needed to address the gaps in order to meet the sustainable development goals (SGDS by 2030)
For example; fertility rates in the Northern Region have shown insignificant decline from 6.6 to 5.8 according to the Ghana Demographic, Maternal and Health Surveys conducted between 2014 and 2017.
It said fertility rates in the Northern Region remain high and are rated the highest in the country and such high fertility is disincentive to development as they are associated with high risk births.
“In Ghana 1 in 5 young women were married before 18 years. Child marriage figures have also dropped over the years. Median age at first marriage for women between 25 to 49 years in the northern region is from 18.7 to 19.9%,” the statement observed.
To ensure that no one is left behind, the Population Council believes that taking conscious efforts to ensure that family planning and information services are available and accessible to people of reproductive age, particularly women and girls, will give them the opportunity and the right to decide when and how often they want to have children.
Story By: Nelson Adanuti Nyadror