Prof. Sai calls on African Governments to show commitment to Family Planning issues

The Sixth Annual Research Conference on Population, Reproductive Health and Economic Development, has opened in Accra with a call on African leaders to show commitment in addressing family planning issues since it was one of the tools when applied would address maternal health problems.

“To help address and meet the Millennium Development Goal 5, which is on maternal health, we need to factor in family planning or else we will not be able to meet our target.”

Professor Fred T. Sai, former Presidential Advisor on Population Issues, Reproductive Health, HIV and AIDS made the call addressing the opening session of the conference in Accra.

The four-day conference, organised by the University of Ghana in collaboration with the Population and Poverty Research Network (PopPov), a group of academic researchers and funders from around the globe interested in how population dynamics affect economic outcomes economics and population researchers, with an emphasis on empirical research about Africa.

PopPov investigates how population policies could influence poverty reduction at the household level and economic growth at the country and State level.

Participants at the three-day conference would learn about the on-going and completed research on population, reproductive health and economic development as well as provide constructive feedback.

In addition, they would identify gaps in evidence and methods that inhibit development of sound policies on population, family planning, reproductive health, discuss examples of the influence of research on these areas and find how to communicate research to policymakers.

Prof. Sai explained that having access to family planning was a right and “A right is not a right when it is not known to the community”.

He said despite recent positive signs that African Governments were in favour of family planning, citing Senegal, Zimbabwe and Uganda as examples, in most cases some of them still failed to play an active role in the promotion of population programmes.

Prof. Sai noted that stronger commitment by African Governments was required and only such commitment would enable the continent to address the issue of rapid population growth and meet MDG 5.

In Africa, governments only have the necessary resources (financial, human and material), to make a difference.

He noted that African Governments’ commitment should go beyond policy declarations and start to play a proactive role to make services available and increase the use of family planning.

Prof. Sai called for more education, put in the needed resources and create the right environment for the integration of family planning into maternal health care to reduce maternal deaths, “so we can achieve MDG 5”.

Ms Helena Choi, Programme Officer of Global Development and Population reiterated the need to put in measures to address and MDG 5.

Source: GNA

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