Population Council, Marie Stopes discuss Media’s role in addressing Reproductive Health and the SDGs

The National Population Council (NPC) has called for media partnership in intensifying advocacy and education on Adolescent, Sexual, and Reproductive Health (ASRH) in the country.


According to the NPC, Sexual and Reproductive Health issues had direct links to all the 17 goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and when addressed properly, could lead to the achievement of the quality life for all Ghanaians by the year 2030.

Dr. Leticia Appiah, the Executive Director of NPC, in soliciting the support of the media at an Editor’s forum stressed that despite efforts to address the ASRH, the impact have not been as expected.


According to her lack of sustainable financing, low education, lack of timely information, poor access to available services such as family planning, stigmatisation and the negative attitudes of service providers, especially towards ASRH rights and needs have contributed to this.

The forum, which was jointly organised by the NPC and Marie Stopes International, Ghana, was to create a platform for discussions with the media on their role in addressing ASRH issues and the attainment of the SDGs.

She noted that teenage pregnancy was still unacceptably high among girls at the basic school level leading to increased dropout rates, especially in rural Ghana.

The media had influential powers for enhancing education, effecting cultural change of negative practices, and pushing for political support and policy implementation, for adequate resources to address ASRH issues, she said.

Dr. Appiah said with Ghana’s current population being predominantly youthful, the country could not afford to leave anyone behind, but to ensure that their needs were holistically addressed to ensure national development.

Esi Asare Prah, a Representative of Marie Stopes International, Ghana, said adolescents lacked the recognition needed to make informed choices and decisions regarding their ASRH and rights.

She said this led to consequences such as unwanted pregnancies, high maternal mortalities and morbidity due to unsafe abortions.

“Ghana cannot achieve gender equality when about 7,000 girls are dropping out of school at the basic and secondary level, which is dangerous to achieving sustainable development for the next generation,” she said, adding that it had the tendency to derail all efforts at attaining the SDGs.

According to Ghana’s 2014 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), about 14% of antenatal attendants were adolescents aged between 15 and 19 years.

“We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect different results,” she said, and urged the media to devote much attention to amplifying simple and clear information on the ASRH issues to effect a change in the attitudes of service providers.

Professor Augustine Ankomah, the Country Director of the Population Council, described reproductive health as the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but also in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.

He spoke on the truth, myth and misconceptions relating to ASRH, saying studies had shown that more girls in the rural areas in Ghana were having sex earlier than their counterparts in urban centres.

The studies also showed that those girls were often from poor families hence their vulnerability, and said it was the reason why timely information and education was critical to ensuring delayed sexual intercourse and pregnancy among adolescents.

Madam Cecilia Senoo, the Executive Director, Hope for Future Generation, said achieving the SDGs would be a mirage if efforts were not doubled, and called for more action than talk.

Source: Kofi Ahovi || businessweekghana.com







I will begin by extending my heartfelt appreciation to the Conveners of the Baraka Policy Institute for the invitation extended to me as a Special Guest of Honour to this sixth BPI Annual Development Lectures. As the Executive Director of the National Population Council, I am of the firm believe that this platform provide a very important opportunity for us deliberate on the role of the community as a major stakeholder in the 2020 Population Housing Census. Population and Housing Census was first held in 1891 in Ghana, and have since been conducted every ten years with the exception of 1941 due to interruption by the World War II, but was held seven years after in 1984 (Ghana – Population and Housing Census 2000 – IHSN Survey Catalog). Census data, just like other surveys, are important starting points for development issues, and I am always extremely passionate about platforms such as this, to mainstream them into our national development discourse.


The Community/ Policy Development Factor

The Ghanaian populace have been an integral part of this exercise over these years, and I believe the 2020 Census will not be an exception. Indeed this is a very important national exercise which all citizens must take seriously and participate in fully. Census data have served as a baseline and a leading source of statistical information about the citizenry, hence the slogan, “Everyone Counts, Get Counted”.  The value of accurate census data to the public cannot be over emphasised. Relying on accurate data goes beyond the simple fact of how many people live here. Policy makers have recognised that accurate census can provide other valuable information to improve the policy process. Policy makers at all levels of government as well as private businesses, household, researchers use census data.

Governments by the use of population data and its characteristics, are able to target and distribute resources toward a wide range of socio-economic developments at the local community level. It also serves an important tool for evidence based decision making, and shapes investment decisions by private businesses and builds confidence in the government and the economy. Census data is used in assessing economic well-being, assisting families and low-income populations the elderly, the physically challenged or disabled and in some cases veterans.

Accurate census data is critical to local government agencies such as; boards of schools, hospitals, etc. in determining their needs (e.g. Basic schools, JHS, SHS etc.). Accurate data is crucial for better planning and implementation, including educational training and provision of health services etc.

 Business Factor

Accurate census data provides information on where people of different ages live, and helps businesses of all kinds to develop and market their products. (e.g. baby food, clothing and diapers). It helps provide relevant information for the provision of needs such as; large family amusement parks, TV programs for children, real estate needs and many more. Accurate census information on language spoken at home helps TV and radio stations define language service area and develop products and services tailored for those who speak languages other than English.

 Forecast Demand Factor

Businesses uses Census data in forecasting demand, and thereby supplying products required by communities. This helps in making location decisions, and where to cite which type of business. This data also provides businesses with the required information to venture and invest in profitable sectors of the economy having in mind the availability of utilities etc. Disaster relief when planning or responding to disaster both at the individual and community level is enhanced by the availability, interpretation and use of census data.



It is therefore, important that as Ghana prepares to conduct the 2020 Population and Housing Census, all stakeholders, especially the citizenry are well informed and encouraged to cooperate and participate in the enumeration exercise in order to achieve the desired outcome.   Indeed I believe that, with the required support given, the slogan of “Everyone Counts, Get Counted” will be achieved.