Uncontrolled population breeds poverty

High mortality rate is one daunting challenge PNG is yet to overcome, with research showing 5 mothers in PNG dying every day during the process of birthing.

Its causes are many but one that stands out is the lack of proper family planning.

This was the key message delivered today in commemoration of the World Population Day.

World Population Day is celebrated on the 11th of July every year and focuses on the need and significance of controlling the increasing world population and the importance of reproductive health.

According to PNG’s 2011 Census, the country has a population growth of 3.1 percent.

This rapid growth rate has been aided by lack of family planning.

World Population Day 2018 observed the theme, "Family planning is a human right”.

The slogan, for the first time, gives response to a 50-year-old legislation which states that women and girls can refuse to have multiple pregnancies placed too close, if they wanted.

UNFPA Representative Koffi Kouame noted the non-practice of family planning affects families, especially the health of women and their children, gives rise to risky pregnancies hence leading to high death rate amongst mothers and their babies while uncontrolled population boom also breeds poverty.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Lance Bonneau said family planning is central to women empowerment and poverty reduction.

He stressed family planning is more than just a method; it is a human right to determine freely and responsibly child spacing.

Family planning enables mothers to manage their health and that of their children, reduces high mortality rate and allows families to equally concentrate on and provide sufficiently for their children’s health and welfare.

Minister for Health, HIV and AIDS Sir Puka Temu in response said the government recognises that empowering young boys and girls, educating them about reasonable and youth-friendly techniques of avoiding unwanted pregnancies at a young age, providing easy access to reproductive health care services to every couple and demanding certain laws for protecting the rights of a girl child are needed to realise the full potential of family planning in PNG.

Carolyn Ure