Media urged to maintain awareness on reproductive health needs of women

The National Population Council (NPC), has called for media support to create and maintain awareness on sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, the Chief Executive of NPC, said it was important for the country to remain committed to safeguarding hard-fought gains in promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of women and girls and keep the issues on the local agenda during the pandemic.

Dr Appiah who made the call at an event to pre-launch the 2020 World Population Day celebrations in Accra with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said that was the only way to maintain the momentum towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and ensuring Ghana beyond aid.
World Population Day is observed every July 11 to raise awareness on population issues.

This year’s celebration is on the theme; “Putting the Brakes on COVID-19 to raise awareness of global population issues: How to Safeguard the Health and Rights of Women and Girls Now”.

The celebration will raise awareness on the three transformative goals of; zero maternal deaths, zero unmet needs for family planning as well as zero sexual and Gender Based Violence and harmful practices.

Dr Appiah noted that almost one out of three married women who wanted to space or limit the number of children to have was not using any family planning method leading to many unintended and mistimed pregnancies and asked the media to help preach the advantages of family planning.

She said in the wake of the pandemic, population issues were also influencing outcome of livelihoods and must no longer be ignored.

Dr Appiah recounted challenges COVID-19 had exposed women and girls to and called for the need to advocate the continuity of SRHR and Sexual and Gender Based Violence services.

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, said the Service by way of controlling population had mainstreamed family planning services and also extended its scope by using Community Health nurses to reach the vulnerable.

He said family planning was placed on the National Health Insurance on a pilot to offer services for free in some areas.

Dr Agnes Ntibanyurwa, the UNFPA Deputy Country Director, called on government to put in place measures to ensure the achievement of the formative goals target, which were necessary in meeting the SDG goals.

Ms Patricia Antwi-Boasiako, the Deputy Director Operations and Advocacy Marie Stopes Ghana, pledged to support the NPC and called for the need to prioritise and invest in the health of women and girls.

She underscored the need to increase local funding, specifically budgetary allocation to health, with clear lines of a good percentage to adolescent reproductive health issues.

“Our ability to achieve the SDGs in 10 years, to safeguard the future of our girls and ensure our development gains are indeed progressive and sustainable depends largely on the investments we make today as a country,” she stated.

By Ghana News Agency

Jul 8, 2020

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 ||

53% of all pregnancies in Ghana are unwanted

A recent Guttmacher report published in April 2020 shows that more than half (53%) of all pregnancies in Ghana are unintended and about 71% of all abortions are illegal.
According to the report, northern zone recorded 23%, coastal zone recorded 51% while the middle zone recorded 66%. An estimated 23% of all pregnancies in Ghana in 2017 ended in abortion.
Again, the Ghana Statistical Service 2017 Maternal Health Survey shows that 32% of all 19 years olds are already mothers and evidence from the Ministry of Education’s Education Management Information System further confirms this unfortunate fate; 6,607 pregnancies from upper primary – SHS in the 2017/2018 academic year alone and this increased to about 7,293 pregnancies in the 2018/2019 academic year. Recent reports from the central region gender office stated about 4,100 teenage pregnancies were recorded from January to May alone; and while this is celebrated as a reduction of 500 pregnancies from last year, a report of over 4,000 adolescent pregnancies in one region alone should make any development-oriented person shiver.
Disclosing these figures at the pre-launch of the this year’s World Population Day in Accra, Patricia Antwi-Boasiako, Deputy Director – Operations and Advocacy at Marie Stopes Ghana, said, during the covid-19 lockdown in April 2020 her institution projected that 26,000 women and girls in Ghana could lose access to contraception due to significant reductions in service provision for three months (April – June) at Marie Stopes Ghana clinics, outreach areas, and private bluestar clinics due to covid-19. “This reduction in access to services, we foresee, could be as high as 58,000 women and girls if Covid-19 persist till December 2020” said Antwi-Boasiako.
“That is why for us as Marie Stopes Ghana, this year’s World Population Day theme, “Putting the brakes on COVID-19: how to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls now, couldn’t be more appropriate”, she noted. She was of the view that safeguarding the health of women and girls, really translates to safeguarding the future and the economy; “when families, women and girls are adequately empowered and supported to plan their lives and decide when and how to have children, they are able to achieve their academic and career aspirations and thus contribute meaningfully to the economy”.
“Our ability to achieve the SDGs in 10years, to safeguard the future of our girls and ensure our development gains are indeed progressive and sustainable, depends largely on the investments we make today as a country”, she stated.
Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah- the Executive Director of National Population Council (NPC), on her part observed that, globally, the pandemic is threatening to derail many efforts including efforts to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet needs for family planning and zero sexual and gender based violence and harmful practices targets which are necessary in meeting SDG goals and in the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
She stressed that the NPC and its partners are committed to safe guarding the hard-fought gains and ensuring that sexual reproductive health rights and service stays on the local agenda to enlist societal and political wills in maintaining the momentum towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.
Dr. Appiah argued that investing in reproductive health would contribute to healthier individuals, healthier families, which would contribute to stronger and wealthier nations. She stressed that investments in reproductive health safeguards the lives of women and children, improves family and community wellbeing and boost economic gains; and yet as a country, we are far from achieving the benefits of reproductive health.
She added that the pandemic has presented the world a chance to address the imbalance to build strong and resilient health system and equitable development of all including women and girls. “Healthy and empowered women can bring about the change needed to create as sustainable future for all,” she noted.
The World Population Day is an annual event, observed on July 11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The concept was established by Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. WPD is celebrated in Ghana by National Population Council with support from the United Nations Population Fund and other development partners.
World Population Day aims to increase people’s awareness on various population issues such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.

By Kofi Ahovi

Census 2020: Everyone Counts, Get Counted

Ghana’s population continue to increase by more than 700,000 people each year, with most of the growth occurring in urban areas of Accra, Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi. According to the National Population Council (NPC, RAPID 2015) Ghana’s population is estimated to be 45.8 and 50.2 million by 2040 and 2050 respectively should the current growth rate remain unchanged. Continued population growth has strong implications for quality of life, socio-economic growth and sustainability. This clearly points to the fact that investment and resources including education, housing, road network, energy, health, water and sanitation facilities will have to be provided to match up with the increasing numbers. It is important to understand and appreciate that planning precedes development and one sure way of actualizing this is through census.

Population and Housing Census defined
Population and housing census is one of the most expensive and complex exercises to be undertaken by any nation. It requires some amount of detailed cartographic work, recruiting and training huge number of enumerators, putting in place strong publicity machinery, compiling huge amounts of data on paper and or in electronic format, analyzing and disseminating same to end users. This year’s population and housing census (PHC) will be the sixth post-independence to be conducted in Ghana.

Population and housing censuses are done decennial (every ten years) by countries consistent with United Nations recommendations. By definition, population and housing census is the enumeration of the total population of a country, which provides data on the number of people, spatial distribution, age and sex structure, living conditions and other key socioeconomic characteristics. Data on disability, migration and information communication technology will also be collected, analyzed and disseminated. Such data are critical to development planning, tracks population dynamics, spatial and social inequalities in development and allocation of infrastructure at multi-level as well as for electoral and boundary planning. From its simplistic approach population and housing census provides primary data source on size and spatial distribution of the population, housing conditions and related characteristics.

Uniqueness of the 2020 census
The uniqueness of the 2020 population and housing census lies in its capacity and capability to switch from paper-centric to techno-centric approach. An innovative approach to generating population and housing data remains the best option at least for now. A computer assisted personal information (CAPI) device will be used. A technique that integrates geographical information satellite images, remote sensing and survey data at point of service (POS) and point of delivery (POD). The use of CAPI has proven not only to be user friendly even to the technophobic but also robust, stable and practical in operational context. This new approach will enable us generate, analyze, disseminate and publish high quality, relevant and disaggregated geo-referenced census data timely for use.

A key challenge likely to compromise the outcome and coverage of any census is inaccessibility. However, in the case of Ghana this has been overcome through the use of GPS and a further development of cartographic maps to guide enumerators. It is important to know that the use of CAPI per say will not replace the comprehensive data set alternatively generated through traditional means

The upcoming population and housing census calls for greater attention and involvement across sectors as a successful exercise will make available quality geo-referencing data and knowledge on demand for decision-making and to guide development. This explains why the 2020 population and housing census is of much importance to all, for everyone counts get counted.

My Details:
NAME: Frank Ofosu-Asante
ORGANISATION: National Population Council – W/R
POSITION: Regional Director







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.


Show interest in the work of Population Council—Muslim leaders to govt.

The Executive Director of the Muslim Family Council Services (MFCS), Chief Alhaji Imoro Baaba, has urged government to show more interest in the work of the National Population Council (NPC) as it is a vital arm of government that acts as a springboard for government developmental agenda.

According to him, without the full functioning of the NPC, it will be difficult for the various institutions and commissions set up by the government to achieve any impactful results. 

Chief Alhaji Imoro Baaba made the remarks when he paid a courtesy call on the Executive Director of the NPC, Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah last Wednesday, February 6, 2019 in Accra.

He was accompanied by accompanied by Alhaji Issifu Fuseini and Hajia Adiza Baaba Issa, Deputy Director of the Muslim Family Council Services. 

Chief Alhaji Imoro Baaba said a lot of people do not understand the work of the council hence the very little prominence it receives, urging government to provide increased support to the NPC if it desires to see meaningful development. 

He also called on the United Nations Population Fund, formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) and other international donors to continue to beef-up support for the population council to do their advocacy work to affect lives positively.

“The establishment of the National population Council dates as far back to the Busia regime which saw population, family planning as the way to go if visible developments is something to go by,” he opined. 

Chief Alhaji Imoro Baaba also blamed teenage pregnancy and all the increasing social ills in society to the country’s inability to address population, family planning and related issues.

He has, therefore, requested the NPC to adopt strategic lobbying skills to get the desired prominence it requires to help achieve its mandate in making government efforts in developing Ghana visible. 

He was of the view that there is the need for partnership to better position family planning strategically for national development, educate its people and provide requisite information for their follower and provide better understanding regarding the integral nature of NPC’s work in national Development. 

The Executive Director of the National Population Council, Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah who was happy to receive the group commended their efforts and supports. 

“Family planning is the way to go,” she said, adding that it is like a missionary work, hence all must join hands in achieving a mandate of providing an improved and sustained quality of life for all Ghanaians. 

“We are ready to join you and won’t also mind if you join us to do the needful for the country we all love and want to see develop,” she noted.

‘Give birth 10 times to win a sheep’

In our series of letters from African journalists, Elizabeth Ohene considers the controversial proposal to limit women to having three babies in Ghana.

Among the Ga, the people who are indigenous to Ghana’s capital, Accra, a woman is entitled to a live sheep on the delivery of her 10th child. The word for it is “nyongmato”.

I am not making this up even though it does sound like the kind of apocryphal story that is regularly made up.

Lots of very important people among the Gas can testify to this. Unfortunately, I have not met any woman who has actually got a live sheep for having given birth to 10 children.

Indeed, I have never met any woman who has had 10 children.

I don’t know if I have been moving in the wrong circles, because I don’t even know any woman who has had five children. OK, as soon as I wrote that, I realized I was wrong.

‘Lonely battle’

Two months ago, I went to the funeral of a female relation of mine who was my classmate in primary school.

At her death, this relation of mine had 46 direct descendants; made up of eight children, 26 grandchildren and counting, and 10 great-grandchildren and counting.

I was scandalized and I spent the entire funeral going over these figures and moaning to myself how easy it was to find the reasons for the poverty in Ghana.

I have been waging a lonely unpopular battle about the rate of population growth in our country and against women having so many babies, but to no avail.

I roll out what I consider to be a sound argument that I thought would win over all doubters.

I cite Norway, which had a population of 3.5 million to Ghana’s five million at the time of our independence in 1957.

Today, there are 5.3 million people living in Norway while Ghana has a population of nearly 30 million.
‘We don’t count children’

I make the argument that even if none of our rulers ever stole any public funds, we would still have economic difficulties at this rate of population growth.

The last time I visited Lillehammer in Norway, I wrote in my column about the difference in our two situations. I pointed out it is no wonder everything is bursting at the seams and we are forever worrying about the lack of classrooms.

Somehow, these arguments don’t cut any ice with people here because it is considered in extremely bad taste to complain about the number of children somebody has.

As someone once claimed to me: “In our tradition we don’t count children.”

The good news is that now I don’t feel alone in this battle.

Into the fray has jumped the Executive Director of the National Population Council, Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, and believe me, she is an exceptionally brave woman.

She is not speaking in parables, she is straight to the point. She has proposed that women should be restricted to having three children.

And she says this should be obligatory.

If a woman goes beyond this sacred number of three, she would be punished by being denied access to free government services.

‘Outrage from men’

We have to talk about the quality of life, Dr Appiah has been arguing.

I don’t recall that anyone in an official position has been this categorical in Ghana about family planning ever before.

We have had a family planning policy since 1970 but usually people only talk about the spacing of births and then hope that the spacing will lead to the birth of fewer children.

This time around Dr. Appiah is urging a cap on the number of children a woman should have.

It is interesting to note that that the people who claim to be outraged by the proposal to limit the number of children have been largely men. I’m sorry none of their arguments stick in my mind long enough to repeat here.

I have not yet heard any woman complain that they don’t want the number of children they can have to be restricted.

Ghana’s fertility rate, that is the average number of children per woman, currently stands at four, though that figure has fallen steadily over the last 30 years.

Another interesting statistic worth noting is that there has not been a single death from measles in Ghana since 2002. Measles used to be one of the main infant killers, and the main justification for having many births.

This past week, I have been doing a very unscientific survey.

Every pregnant woman I have seen, I have asked which number it was and I have not yet met a woman in her third pregnancy. But I am probably looking in the wrong place by asking working women in banks, in offices and shops; the high birth rates can be found mostly in the rural areas.

There might yet be some women who are aspiring to get that live sheep.

We would probably have to find an equally attractive present for every woman who decides to stop at three or below. The problem is I can’t think what can possibly challenge the “10-baby sheep”, nyongmato.

Source: BBC

RE: The Population Myth

In his article titled The Population Myth carried in the September 22, 2018 edition of the Daily Guide Newspaper Dr Nii Moi Thompson wrote things about the National Population Council and its Executive Director that created some false impressions that need to be corrected.

Dr. Thompson wrote that the NPC is “prosecuting an alarmist campaign’ which according to him ‘seems to be driven more by disregard for facts and history than desire to enlighten the public’.

He described the three child per woman policy target of the NPC as ‘arbitrary and whimsical, even dangerous’ and said there is no research ‘anywhere that identifies three children per woman as the optimal threshold’.

Clearly, his understanding of population and development does not include health of the population; that is why he is talking about absence of an ‘optimal population structure for development’ thereby re-echoing the usual Julian Simon School.

There is too much of it out there describing the effect of higher birth order (and short birth intervals) on reproductive health outcomes (Stover and Ross, 2010; Susuman et al. 2016; Mishra et al. 2017; GSS et al. 2015, 2018).

Births of order 4 and above are shown to increase the risk of infant and maternal mortality. This is one of the reasons why the 1994 revised Population Policy set a total fertility rate (TFR) target of 3 children by 2020. This is important because nations are developed by healthy people reproducing healthily and working to take care of them in a sustainable manner. Just as we have optimal blood pressure level.

A reference to the population policy or engagement with the NPC would inform anyone that the figure is not ‘whimsical or arbitrary’.

This policy target of three children was set as far back as1994 and is therefore not an agenda been pushed by the Executive Director of the NPC. As far back as 1969 when the first population policy was developed there were recommendations for exemptions including limiting maternal leave to three children. Just as limiting pension age in the public service to 60 years does not mean after 60 one cannot work in other organizations.

As we wish to reiterate, his understanding of development is that of a classical economist and does not include health, otherwise he would have known that there is an optimal number of births for the health of women, children and communities.

For the information of the economist, age, birth interval and birth order (4+) are the demographic variables used in defining a high-risk pregnancy and are termed demographic risks.

He writes that ‘contrary to the campaign‘s repeated claims, Ghana does NOT face any imminent crises of population growth’.

He concludes the paragraph that Ghana has succeeded and ‘just needs to manage its success better’. Dr Thompson being the astute journalist, artist and economist should explain why though poverty declined by 0.8% between 2013 and 2017, the absolute figures increased from 6.4 million to 6.8 million with widening inequalities according to the GLSS7 of 2017. 

Is this what he terms success that we should just manage? Of course, there is no imminent crises but as clearly stated by Lee Kuan Yew in 1969, we will regret the time lost if we do not take the decisive steps towards correcting a trend which can leave a society with many physically, intellectually and culturally anemic people.

Population growth rate does affect health, education, employment, security among others. The size and population growth rate which are a function of birth rate, death rate and migration do matter because it acts as the supply of labor force for a country and the economic situation the demand factor. An imbalance between the supply of labour and demand gives rise to unemployment and underemployment. 

A vicious cycle generated by a high dependency burden associated with a young age structure leads to low savings and investment per capita which in turn leads to low economic growth and a low standard of living. 

They produced high fertility rates in turn thus heightens the dependency burden perpetuating the cycle. This vicious cycle could be broken at only two points. First at the high fertility stage primarily by introducing an effective family planning program and at the stage of low economic growth by adopting policies to accelerate economic growth.

To be successful, both actions must be pursued simultaneously. With this as a clue, I hope Dr Thompson understands why there is an ever-increasing cohort of school children and we keep building to accommodate them instead of improving quality. Other economists have stated that at 1% population growth rate, nations need between 6.5% and 7% of GDP to maintain the same quality of life. This is termed running to stand still. What does he say about this? Is this consumption or investment?

He states that we are growing at 2.2% which is fine, and therefore we need to sustain the growth. It is however important to note that, our 1969 population policy had a target of 1.7% by the year 2000. Nonetheless, at 2.2 per annum, how much of our GDP do we need annually to just maintain our quality of life giving the life span of our durable assets such as schools, hospitals, roads, bridges currently perked averagely at 50 years not considering the human capital? 

When Dr Thompson blames the overthrow of Gaddafi on European failed to connect the dots properly. Why should the overthrow of Gaddafi lead to the influx of African migrants to Europe if economists had good ideas as MechaiViravaidya of Thailand who within 15 years from 1971 halved Thailand’s growth rate from 3.2% to 1.6% and increased use of contraceptives among married couples from 15% to 70% within the same period. Because of the fertility decline and improved quality of life the people of Thailand did not migrate to Europe with or without the overthrow of Gaddafi.

The population of Thailand in 1970 was about 37 million, in2016 it was about 68 million with a GDP per capita increased from $570 in 1960 to $ 5901 in 2016. How does this compare to our situation in Ghana?

The claim by the economist that if indeed high population growth in Africa is the cause of migration, Africans should have been leaving long time ago is mistaken. A profile of the migrants will show that these are young people who have reached their prime ages and cannot find jobs. This is the result of high population growth and slow economic growth.

The high population growth rates he is referring to applied to smaller bases, 3.6% of 6 million therefore any little loan or grant we had was sufficient for our needs, but that will not be sufficient if our growth rate is 2.5 or 2.2 percent of 30 million. A fertility rate of 6 among 1 million women of reproductive age will result in far fewer absolute births than a fertility rate of 4 among 5 million women. 

About 40% of Ghana’s population was less than 15 years in 2010 and by 2035 all those surviving from this large cohort and still living in Ghana will enter the economically active population. That high population growth increases the need for employment. This is very well demonstrated by Linden in New York Times of June 8th2018. He described it by illustrating that USA with its population structure generated 129,000 new jobs monthly, however, an America size Tanzania population structure would have had to produce 636,000 new jobs monthly without ceasing. We all have a stake and we will co-create the Ghana we want.

Dr Thompson talks about European women having up to 8 children some 100 years ago and European countries have undergone demographic transition. It is right that some European women had up to 8 children at some point in history and a corresponding life expectancy of 30 years. In economics, the fact that one cannot talk about interest rate without inflation also applies to fertility rate and quality of life in population management.

European countries run the full course of the demographic transition from high stationary to low stationary. Everything developed gradually, they did not face the explosive expansion like developing countries who benefited from medical technology and advancement in public health which lead to rapid decline in mortality.

Unfortunately, some economists did not and still do not support family planning as a critical intervention to reduce fertility to match mortality decline contributing to our current state.

Dr. Nii MoiThompson explains that ‘the slowdown in Ghana’s fertility and population growth rates over the years was largely due to the brisk pace of urbanization, from 23.25% in 1960 to 55.32% in 2017’. 

Yes, one huge change in Africa according to Robert Engelman is the mushrooming of gigantic cities. Ghana is urbanizing rapidly with most people arriving from failed farmland and settling into slums.

While it is true that fertility differ according to urban-rural residence, increase in urbanization will never directly lead to fertility decline. The reduced fertility is as a result of easy access to contraceptives and abortion services. The long-standing family planning efforts have accounted for fertility decline and not necessarily urbanization.

In fact, recommending urbanization as a measure for further fertility decline is difficult to comprehend because Ghana’s greatest fertility decline was in the 1980’s when 70% of the country was rural and less literate.

According to Dr. Nii MoiThompson, the NPC ‘typically compares Ghana’s population figures to world averages or individual European countries and conclude that Ghana is doing badly’. We will continue to do so because the sustainable development goals are global targets just as the MDGs were. Human rights and human dignity are universal, and we will continue to do so. He goes further to explain how world population averages distort data from the developing world.

As much as possible we try to present a balanced picture, but we see no problem comparing with world averages. That is exactly what an average is: it combines the best performing and the worst performing. Just as some countries in the world have TFRs less than 2, others have up to 6 so there is nothing wrong with world figures and the distortions he is talking about are only imaginary.

However, we shall limit our comparisons here to only developing countries as suggested or recommended by the economist.
According to the world population prospects estimate by UN 2010-2015, the growth rate of all less developed countries is 1.37% (against 2.39 for Ghana); a growth rate of 1.70% for less developed countries excluding china (against 2.39% for Ghana); a growth rate of 1.48% for lower middle-income countries (against 2.39 for Ghana).

The last is 2.39% for least developed countries (against 2.39% for Ghana); The NPC will continue to present a balanced comparison of Ghana’s population indicators including global ones because there is a global agenda with common benchmarks for all countries. 
About the wild allegation of the ‘NPC campaign [being] an unwitting extension of its European counterpart, which operates through “foreign aid”, we wish to ask what is driving his agenda. Is it driven by ‘aid’?

The vision of the NPC is quality life for the people of Ghana (children, teachers, nurses, mothers, fathers, doctors etc.) not just number of births. Numbers with purpose.