, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – The State Department of Development and Planning has emphasised the need for population control in the country using the integrated Population, Health and Environment (PHE) system.
According to Permanent Secretary Irungu Nyakera, this will help in addressing population dynamics through voluntary family planning.
He said this will also improve health outcomes for people and how they interact with the environment.
“When national population rate grows sustainably, the government can then meet the needs of the people including health, education and employment,” Nyakera said.
He also observed that this approach is cost effective and reduces the resources needed to implement health and natural resource management.
In rural communities – where three in four Kenyans live and most integrated PHE projects take place – health and livelihoods are inextricably linked with natural resources and food security.
Weak health and transportation infrastructure- especially in remote areas prevent families from accessing health services, including reproductive health care.
In Kenya’s rural and poor communities, women often have two or more children than they intended to have.
As a result, families need more resources to provide for everyone, which can increase poverty at the household and national levels.
“When families have more children than they want, the population also grows rapidly,” said Nyakera.
Kenya’s population more than doubled from 21 million in 1989 to 44 million in 2015 and is projected to reach 64 million people by 2030.
It is worth noting that rapid population growth can impact the environment and affect the use of natural resources.
In addition, extreme climate events are projected to have a negative impact on Kenya’s economy with losses across sectors estimated at about Sh100 billion to 300 billion per year by 2030.
“Integrated approaches to development such as PHE can effectively address population, health, livelihood and natural resource challenges in a holistic way that meets specific community needs and address multiple, connected challDirector-General Director General, National Council for Population and Development Josephine Kibaru.
Kibaru noted that the PHE approach has been shown to be more cost effective with economists estimating that every dollar Kenya invests in voluntary family planning and reducing land degradation results in a $4 return.
“It is important that the policies related to population are linked to management of resources and vice versa,” she said.