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World Population to hit 7b in October

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – The world population is expected to reach seven billion by October this year according to projections by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

UNFPA Executive Director Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, in a statement, said the growth posed opportunities and challenges which would require global collaboration to address its impact.

"Globally, people are living longer, healthier lives and choosing to have smaller families. But reducing inequities and finding ways to ensure the well-being of people alive today – as well as the generations that follow – will require new ways of thinking and unprecedented global cooperation," he said.

According to him, the population projections emphasised on stakeholders to ensure family planning services are made available to women following concerns that about 215 million women could not access the services.

He urged governments and non-governmental organisations to provide resources that will empower people to make choices about their families and also access proper reproductive health services.

"Small variations in fertility – when multiplied across countries and over time – make a world of difference. We must invest the resources to enable women and men to have the means to exercise their human right to determine the number and spacing of their children," he said.

Dr Osotimehin said the projections were a signal to the world to explore more opportunities for young people who form the majority of the growing population to provide them with jobs and affordable healthcare.

"When young people can exercise their right to health, education and decent working conditions, they can improve the capacities of their nations to escape poverty. The greater longevity projected for all regions, coupled with low fertility in many countries, means that many countries will be confronting the challenge of ageing populations," he said.

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Dr Osotimehin said when the world marks the population day in July this year, UNFPA will focus on pushing stakeholders to develop policies that will reduce poverty and provide health care to all.

He said:  "UNFPA will kick off a series of activities related to the population milestone of seven billion people on World Population Day, on 11 July."

They will also launch a social media campaign to engage individuals and groups on different issues related to a world of seven billion.

The UN body was also planning a 7-day countdown starting October 24 which will culminate in the launch of this year\’s State of the World Population report.

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