, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – With projections that the world population will hit seven billion next Monday, the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development (NCAPD) has raised the red flag that many Kenyans have larger families than they can afford.
NCAPD Communication Deputy Director George Gichamu said it is unfortunate that people are getting children who they cannot afford to take care of.
“You can imagine young ladies giving birth to five children, and obviously that’s a big number for us. That is the issue, why are they having many children given that they have to support them?” he posed.
Gichamu said many people are getting more children with the excuse that they are seeking to replace those that die.
He emphasised that families maintaining a number of children that they can care for was one sure way of fighting poverty in the country.
He associated the high birth rate to the 25 percent of women who are not using contraceptives despite their availability in the country.
However, he singled out unmet needs of family planning owing it to either insufficient awareness, availability of contraceptives and lack of education on how to use them.
“Yes, people want to use contraceptives, but some do not know how, some have misconceptions about their side effects, or they simply don’t know how to use them or where to get them,” he explained.
He said only 46 percent of women in Kenya were on contraceptives as he expressed concerns that it was not a good number to work with in controlling population growth.
Monday marked the launch of events across the globe in the countdown to a world population of seven billion on October 31 where individuals, governments and organisations are required to pay attention to matters linked to population in their activities.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) called for individual, government and global actions to brainstorm on strategies of managing the increasing population.
According to UNFPA, “The milestone is an occasion to recognise and celebrate our common humanity and diversity. UNFPA is calling for a renewed global commitment for a healthy and sustainable world.”
The UN will launch ‘the seven billion SMS campaign’ on Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland.
On Wednesday, the State of World Population 2011 report with the theme ‘People and Possibilities in a World of 7 Billion’ will be launched across the globe.
Next Monday, relevant stakeholders on matters of population will join the UN to mark the ‘arrival of the 7 billionth baby’.
With the new population projections, there are concerns that youth unemployment, inequalities and poverty continue to bug many countries.
Empowering women by protecting their education, health and dignity are also issues that according to UNFPA require attention.
There is also particular concern over reproductive health especially for women and children who die from complications associated with birth especially in developing countries.
Out of the 7 billion actions, UNFPA also advocated for nurturing of the environment by planting trees, protecting water catchment areas and ensuring food security as key in supporting the high population.
Calls for proper city planning to accommodate high rural urban migration is also another preparation UNFPA asked governments to observe in preparation for the increased population.