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World Seven Billionth Baby Born In Ghana   
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The first Lady, Mrs Naadu Mills has urged nations to channel their energies and resources towards reducing poverty and inequalities across the globe and to check rapid population growth.

She said countries must also put in place measures including affirmative action to empower women and girls and to capitalize on the huge numbers of people to bring about change in their livelihoods.

The First lady made the call at the symbolic identification of the seven billionth baby in Ghana at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra on Monday. “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.

Ghana’s population dynamics are similar to others in Sub-Saharan Africa where sustained population growth had resulted from high fertility rate, young population structure and declining mortality rate.

These interrelated factors, the First Lady noted, had effects on the nation’s development such as the provision of schools, health facilities, adequate food supply, affordable and decent housing, and high income earning and an over-all improved quality of life.

Ghana’s population had grown four times from 6.7 million in 1960 to 24.2 million in 2010.

Between 1984 and 2010 in a period of 26 years, Ghana’s population almost doubled by an additional 11.9 people in 1984 that stood at 12.3 million. Between 2000 and 2010, the country’s population grew at an annual rate of 2.4 per cent. The population is expected to double by 2039. “We must pause to consider what the situation would be, regarding infrastructural development, food sustainability and even traffic congestion in our cities”

“These are issues we all need to ponder over as we observe the world at seven billion today in Ghana”, the First Lady said.

She noted that children were a great source of joy to parents and the community at large but at the same time they could cause all sort of problems and challenges for the mother, the family and the nation as a whole. She congratulated Ghana for having done fairly well in reducing the fertility rate from about seven children per woman in 1960s to four currently.“Yet, by our standards as a middle income country, a total fertility rate of four is still high, the First lady said.

She noted that the increase in life expectancy had come alone with its own challenges of a high dependency burden with implication for sustained economic growth and development and called on the nation to pause and ask how the growing aging population would be taken care of since social security programmes were limited.

Mrs Mills said, “As we adored the seven billion baby born in Ghana today, we should be concerned with what the future holds for this baby and others throughout Ghana in the next couple of years.

“How do we ensure that this baby and the mother are healthy and the child in particular becomes a national asset in future,” she said.

The First Lady called for a concerted effort to make family planning a national priority to empower women to be able decide when to have a child, how many, and how frequently.

She said the decisions that were made today would continue to shape the future and the world of all newly born today.

She commended the United Nations for its support to family planning programmes but appealed for increase direct funding for population programmes in Ghana.

“Ghana is in a demographic transition and in order to reach the dividend of this transition, our agenda should focus on building human capital through effective education, health and family planning programmes in a sustainable environment that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations including this child that is born today.

The First Lady later visited the seven billionth baby born at the 37 Military Hospital. The Director of Ghana’s Population Council, Dr. Stephen Kwankye, said the increase in the world population called for measures to improve infrastructural development and food security.

Dr. Kwankye said the country needed to focus attention on regulating child birth and ensuring rural development to ease the pressure on the urban cites.

Source: GNA

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