World Population Day: Gov’t asked to incorporate human rights into family planning policies
| Updated Jul 11, 2018 at 12:24pm
As Ghana joins the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s World Population Day, government had been asked to prioritize family planning and consider it as a human right issue as globally affirmed in the 1986 International Conference on Human Rights for the first time.
Speaking to Radio Ghana on the global theme: “Family Planning is a Human Right”, the Upper East Regional Population Officer, Alosiba Azam said access to family planning is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
He stated that Ghana has been part of the global effort at ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health as clearly captured in SDG 5.6.
To this effect, Ghana recognizes the human right aspect of family planning and would encourage government to rise up to the challenge and consider incorporating human rights into family planning policies and care.
Mr. Azam, moreover, proposed that in fulfilment of the elements of right to health, government should invest and make family planning services accessible to clients.
He said in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, access to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right and central to gender equality, poverty reduction and women empowerment.
For him, promoting human rights to family planning will yield economic and other gains that can propel Ghana’s development.
He bemoaned the upsurge of teenage pregnancy as against the low uptake of family planning in the region despite the enormous benefits of family planning to the individual, family, the community and the country at large.
Mr. Azam attributed the cause to factors such as myths and misconceptions about Family Planning, strong adherence to cultural and traditional practices, religious barriers, erratic supply of family planning commodities, low male involvement in family planning services, and inadequate financial support for family planning programmes among others.
He again identified poor staff attitude towards clients at the various health facilities as a major factor and urged the Ghana Health Service to continually orientate its staff as poor attitude is a great repellent to family planning uptake.
Touching on the way forward, Mr. Azam called on key stakeholders to intensify their public education and advocacy campaigns on family planning. He dispelled misconceptions about family planning and challenged men as well as religious and traditional authorities to be
involved in family planning and reproductive issues. Communities and the Media were also charged to step up their involvement in family planning and reproductive health issues as their involvement will enforce a positive change for sustainable development.
In spite of the economic growth and gains made, Ghana’s population continue to grow and is expected to double in size between 2010 and 2040 at the current rate of growth.
According to Mr. Azam, efforts at reducing population growth is key to ensuring sustainable national development as the country risk recording rapid urbanisation from migration, high unemployment, poverty and low status of women.
He noted that family planning remains the most effective strategy to cut down the rate of population growth.
This he said requires the recognition of family planning as a human right.
Following growing global concerns of rapid population growth, the governing council of the United Nations General Assembly in 1987 recommended that 11th July be observed annually as World Population Day.
The date has since become a global event with focus on the need to create awareness on global population trends and their implications for development.