Gambia observes World Population Day 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Office of the Vice President in partnership with UNFPA yesterday joined the rest of the world in observing World Population Day 2017 held in Sanyang, West Coast Region.

The theme of this year’s World Population Day celebration was “Family planning Empowering people, Developing Nations.”

The Governor of West Coast Region, Ebrima Mballow, speaking on the occasion, said 11 July was set aside every year in recognition of World Population Day in focusing attention on the importance of population issues and its linkage to national development.

He noted that the theme for this year’s celebration was timely as the nation and families are facing challenges on attaining the post ICPD 2015 development agenda and national development goals.

He added that this year’s celebration coincided with the London Family Planning Summit to take up the family planning 2020 initiative which aims to expand family planning to 120million in 2020.

He further added that access to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right and also central to gender equality and women’s empowerment in reducing poverty and achieving growth.

According to him, in 1968 UN member states recognised the right of individuals and couples to decide their family size; that thousands of intended pregnancies and maternal deaths mostly affect economically less fortunate people.

He disclosed that around the world, 214 million women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancies are not using safe and effective family planning methods due to lack of awareness and support partners and communities.

He disclosed that meeting the demand for women to use family planning would save lives by averting 67 million unintended pregnancies and reducing maternal deaths.

Governor Mballow added that sexual and reproductive health is a concern in The Gambia where teenagers become sexually active at an early age and adolescent fertility has been a growing problem with far reaching social and economic consequences.

For his part, Hon. Kebba K. Barrow, National Assembly Member for Kombo South, said the day was an important day representing the globe and it was an opportunity for The Gambia to look unto the population growth and the role family planning plays in the life of women and development of the nation.

He thanked the committee for choosing Kombo South for the celebration, adding that it would play a crucial role in helping the people of Kombo South to have a clear understanding of family planning as population growth is high in the area.

Aboubacarr Sambou, Director RHDW-2, said the theme was timely as family planning is sustainable to the health of women.

 He indicated that family planning is a nation development strategy, adding that West Coast Region including the community of Sanyang is the economic and population powerhouse of The Gambia.

He pointed out that in The Gambia like other nations, family planning improves the quality of life, improves the wellbeing of women and children, preventing HIV/AIDS and fostering education for girls.

Author: Rose Zahra Gomez