Sports, Health & Lifestyle
Written By: Observer staff
Article Date: Nov 11, 2008 - 4:04:49 AM
Yemen’s rapidly growing population, currently estimated at 22.3 million with 670,000 new Yemenis expected in 2007, presents a serious challenge. In response, the Secretariat General of the National Population Council on Sunday launched an awareness campaign on reproductive health and family planning in a number of secondary schools in the Capital Secretariat.
“This campaign, November 9 to 11, has aimed to strengthen what pupils know about the importance of reproductive health and family planning. All activities conducted as part of the campaign aim to decrease the high rates of population growth affecting Yemen,” said Ahmed Buraji, the Secretary-general of the National Population Council.
“Through this campaign, we try to reach these pupils who form the base of future families. They should know such important subjects to enable them to take the right decisions in future,” he said. The campaign will last for three days, and include lectures, brochures and booklets.
Almost half of the Yemeni population is under the age of 15. This is a very large number of people depending on working age people for support.
Yemen’s income levels are relatively low, in fact, the lowest per capita in the region. The social and economic circumstances of the population are quite difficult and are not supportive of a rapid decline in fertility (currently at 6 children per woman) in the absence of vigorous efforts which would enable families to have the number of children they want. However, without change, there will be 60 million Yemenis in 2050.
“Yemen faces very serious challenges related to the rapid increase in its population,” said Vice President, Abdrabu Mansour Hadi. He described the situation in his official statement at the closing ceremony of the Fourth National Population Policy Conference, held in December 2007.
“For example, about 70 percent of Yemenis are under 25 years of age, something regarded as dangerous. We should realize that about 500,000 students are enrolled in the first grade. Although we establish 450 schools annually, we are still unable to accommodate such a large number of new students. We are trying to establish one elementary school per day, one preparatory school every two weeks and one high school every four weeks. However, in some cases about 150 to 200 students are studying in a single classroom. As a result, they are not able to understand anything because the class in overcrowded.”
At present in Yemen, there are not enough development or government resources to substantially improve these key social factors. It is generally considered easier to address these social problems and to gain traction in economic development when fertility is lower.
Rapid fertility decline along with rapid socio-economic development is associated with vigorous family planning and reproductive health programming in which information about and services for contraception are made available to families in a variety of socially appropriate ways.
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