Cape Coast, Aug. 16, GNA – The National Population Council (NPC) has said there is the need for Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to commit a portion of their Common Fund to support family planning activities in their jurisdictions.
This, the Council said, would provide easy and accessible support for family planning providers to implement a more comprehensive and continuous outreach services in both urban and rural areas.
Additionally, it said there is the need for assemblies to engage traditional and religious leaders to scale up public education on the myth and misconception associated with family planning in Ghana.
Mr Augustine Jongtey, Central Regional Population Officer, made the appeal during an encounter with the media and some selected population advisory committee members on the post World Population Day celebration of the Region in Cape Coast on Tuesday.
The forum which also attracted representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Ministry of Gender and other key stakeholders was held under the theme: ‘Family planning, healthy people for sustainable development of the Central Region.’
It provided the opportunity for the participants to share their experiences and display technical innovations that had the potential to accelerate progress in family planning.
Mr Jongtey said it is the NPC’s vision to promote better quality of life for the people of Ghana through effective population management to efficiently distribute national resources for rapid economic development.
He said family planning helped women to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and added that maternal mortality could have been reduced by one-quarter if high risk pregnancies were avoided.
Mr Jongtey appealed to all to accept family planning as an alternative means of spacing birth and stressed that some hormonal methods helped prevent certain cancers whiles the use of condoms help prevent sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.
He said the region’s high fertility rate was a draw back to its sustainable development agenda and threatened food security alongside increasing demands for educational infrastructure, health facilities, unemployment and underemployment.
Mr Jongtey said smaller family sizes through family planning could save the region 4.7 million cedis in primary education, 33.4 million cedis in the health sector and over 31,000 new jobs by 2040.
He called for the intensification of sex education programmes especially for teenagers to protect them against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted and infectious diseases.
Mr Jongtey said there is no reason or justification to deny the youth sex education, as they constitute a significant proportion of the national population.
Mr Kwamina Duncan, Central Regional Minister and the Chairman of the Regional Population Council, said there is the need for continuous education to ensure that family planning methods achieve the desired impact.
He said there are some programmes and activities rolled out in some communities to educate the people to accept family planning.
Mr Michael Tagoe, Project Officer of Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) for Western and Central Region, stressed the need for the country to make conscious efforts to carry out a comprehensive sex education in schools to inform the youth.
He identified cultural and religious beliefs, lack of information, limited access to contraceptives, and lack of cooperation from partners as some major challenges.
By Isaac Arkoh, GNA