Population growth needs control

Editorial

IT is time to ensure drastic measures are put in place to control the country’s population growth.
Otherwise, there will be a big problem trying to meet the demands of an ever-increasing number of inhabitants.
The higher the population growth, the higher is the demand for goods and services: More classrooms, teachers, doctors and nurses.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill recently told Parliament that population growth was a major challenge for any government.
It is no secret that Papua New Guinea has been ranked as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies by the World Population Review.
PNG has an estimated population of 8.42 million, which compares to the 2000 census population of 5.19 million.
This is the largest in the Pacific islands. The annual growth for PNG has increased steadily from 2.2 per cent in 1980 and currently stands at 3.1 per cent.
Thirty-two per cent of PNG’s population is aged between 10 and 24 years – two million people.
Having more than one million children every four years is unsustainable for any nation, especially one like PNG where we have huge challenges like infrastructure needs, schools, hospitals, education, and roads and bridges that are needed right across the country.
Yes, it is a challenge as alluded to by the prime minister, as PNG lacks a family planning plan and many families do not have any form of family planning.
Unbelievable but true, is that PNG does not have a target for population size.
For a country that has celebrated 43 years of Independence and going 44, that is not right.
A United National Population Fund (UNFPA) report, The State of World Population 2018, shows that when people make reproductive choices, they decide the size of their families and when to have children.
We can say most of our young people lack that choice.
It can have a long-term effect on fertility rates, often making them higher or lower than what most people desire.
The power to choose the number, timing and spacing of children can bolster economic and social development.
PNG needs a total investment of K82.6 million to reach the committed contraceptive prevalence rate by 2024, a study has shown.
The UNFPA cost-benefit analysis of family planning services in PNG shows that the country is falling short of its family planning commitments.
The report says despite increased efforts, the uptake of voluntary family planning has stagnated in PNG.
That means more investment in family planning is needed.
When contraceptive methods are increased, it will decrease pregnancies and live births and decrease maternal morality and morbidities as well as infant and child morality.
The only way to ensure these methods work is through education, not just any education but quality education in both the urban and rural schools.
Our children need to learn and understand the importance of not making families in quantities and think of the quality it can produce.
We have said in past editorials, and will continue to make the stand, that quality education highlights a lot of things.
Quality education includes outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes.
Unless the young population is educated to a standard to understand the advantages and disadvantages of having children very early in life, the population of PNG will continue to increase at an alarming rate.

One thought on “Population growth needs control

  • Population growth does bring benefits. However, in PNG one and most important approach to control population growth is to educate our young people. PNG government is doing fine providing subsidies for all young people to go to school. It is important that all girls must be in the class room. This way will reduce the fertility rate and population growth will be at reasonable rate. Now at above 3% is staggering rate and if it continues, over economy will not accommodate all population and thereby will result in so many social problems. Put young girls at school and delay the child bearing.

Leave a Reply