Dr Leticia Deede Appiah, the Executive Director of the National Population Council (NPC), has revealed that it is risky for a woman to get pregnant and give birth after the fourth delivery.
She explained that though there are exceptions to every rule, birth spacing gives optimal health to the mother and child and advised Ghanaians to give birth to a ‘comfortable’ number of children they could take care off.
Dr Appiah said this when she appeared before the Public Account Committee (PAC) to respond to some violations in the 2015 Auditor General’s Report in relation to the National Population Council.
The PAC is currently holding public sittings on the Report of the Auditor General for the Public Accounts of Ghana for the year ended 31st December, 2015.
Dr Appiah said that the focus of the country, in terms population issues, should be on the quality human resource to ensure economic development.
‘For me I was not surprised that we went to the Olympics and did not win any medal, because we have document that says that 37 per cent of Ghanaian children are stunted, and if you are malnourished it is difficult to compete with somebody who is strong and win any medals against them,’ she added.
Dr Appiah explained that in the past women could have up to 10 children but some of them died due to communicable diseases.
She said due to the current improvement in immunization, development in medical care and relatively good sanitation, most children were able to survive.
‘Can you imagine your salary taking care of 10 children or the same salary taking care of two children, which one is better?’ she asked.
Dr Appiah noted that because people were surviving more, policies must be put in place to control the population growth.
‘The global population growth rate is 1.5 per cent while that of Ghana is 2.5 per cent,’ she said and that if nothing was done to control it, it would be difficult to develop the economy.
Dr Appiah said the quality of life of the people was paramount in every aspect of development and stressed the need to bring the advocacy on population issues to the fore.
She called for a fine balance between population and development, because the growth of the population would determine the economic development likewise the economic development determining the quality of life of the people.
The vision of the NPC is to ensure improved quality of life for Ghanaians and meet the target of reducing Ghana’s population growth rate from 2.5 per cent per annum to 1.5 per cent by 2020. The country had been with this growth rate for the past 30 years, Dr Appiah said.
She said data from the Ghana Malaria Indicator Survey puts the under 15-year-old in 41 per cent of the population, which is very huge for development.
The Ghana Statistical Service puts the population of Ghana at 27 million with an annual increase of 700,000 to 800,000.