By: Kebba AF Touray
Today is World Population Day and to mark the occasion, the National Population have convened a press briefing, yesterday at its Office to inform the population on the significance of the day and the Family Planning as the theme of this year’s commemoration. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Family Planning is a Human Right”
Speaking during the conference, Mr. Saikou Trawally, Director of Population Affairs, said the briefing was meant to equip the media with the gospel and the importance of Family Planning as the central idea of this year’s celebration, so as to disseminate the information to the general public and increase awareness on the day and the family planning concept.
He said the theme for this year is family planning is a human right, due to the fact that the contraceptive prevalence is low and the demographic indicators are appalling in countries one of which is The Gambia, when it comes to maternal deaths and that Gambia has about 433 per 100,000, which is unprecedented and called for concerted efforts to combat the menace.
He said Day recognizes the fact that couples to determine the number of children they should have, timing and how to have it; that family planning contributes towards attaining sustainable development, as well as poverty alleviation and encourages women’s active participation in the work force.
He called on the citizenry to join hands in ensuring that maternal and mortality deaths, infant and child mortality are reduced and that the CPR is increased, which can be achieved through awareness creation through such briefing so as to have positive attitude towards family planning.
He clarified that family planning is not meant to control the population, but to help manage the population.
Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA Country Representative, said family planning started in 13th May 1968 in Tehran, with a view to empowering women to decide the number of children to have and when to have the children. He said numerous positive things have happened in the life of the women folk, which include the family planning as avails them the opportunity to have children on properly managed system, adding that it is directly connected to maternal health.
“There is a conscious knowledge on the impact of the number of children on the health of a women and society in general. In this regard, some countries have invested a lot of resources into other sectors of their economy that have been able to bring them from poverty circle”, he said.
Jeandarc Jarjue Kujabi, representative of the Regional Health Directorate, in her presentation, highlighted that the world presently has a population of 7.6 billion and that The Gambia has a population of 2 million people. She highlighted reduction of adolescent pregnancies, prevention of STIs, prevention of deaths of mother and children during delivery among others as importance of family planning.
She added that family planning methods include but not limited to pills, injections, implants, fertility awareness, vasectomy and tubal tying.