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More awareness in remote areas and schools on family planning may help reduce the country’s population growth rate, says Papua New Guuinea Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Sir Puka Temu.
Speaking at World Population Day in Port Moresby on Wednesday, Sir Puka said the current growth rate of 3 per cent was too high for developing nation.
He said appropriate funding would be allocated specifically for family planning.
Sir Puka said the country’s policy on population was not about control but education, hence, the need for awareness.
“Population is growing too fast,” he said. “Under the current growth rate of 3.1 per cent, we will double every 10-13 years.
“We have to bring down our rate.
“We need to extend awareness to rural areas.
“We have a rural-based population.
“All students from elementary to universities have to be told the value of family planning. Young girls should not be pregnant during their course (of study).
“They should work and have a family.”
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative, Koffi Kouame said access to voluntary family planning enabled women to space their births, benefiting both mothers’ and children’s health.
He said: “Family planning also reduces the risk of death and disability from pregnancy and childbirth too early or too late in a woman’s reproductive life.
“Women who have fewer risky births, healthier pregnancies and safer deliveries face lower risks of death and improved overall health. Their babies are born healthier and their children’s health is better early in life.
“These improvements in health produce an array of economic benefits: greater investments in schooling, greater productivity, greater labour force participation and, eventually, increased income, savings, investment and asset accumulation.
“Contraception helps prevent adolescent pregnancy and thus helps keep girls in school, building their life skills and opens up opportunities later in life to join the paid labour force.
“UNFPA advances the right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means to do so,” he said.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
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