ADDIS ABABA--National planning commission has announced that it has finalizing preparatory ground work for the formulation of a fifteen year perspective development plan spanning the period 2015/16 to 2029/30.
In his opening statements on the commemoration of the 2018 World Population Day, Deputy Commissioner with the rank of State Minister, Getachew Adem said that population dynamics being a key cross-cutting factor in determining the future development trajectory of the country. A background study entitled, “demographics dynamics and priority population issues” is being finalized by the national planning commission in collaboration with the Ethiopian Science Academy.
Indicating that Ethiopia is going through a demographic transition, he said adding that the young age dependency ration of the country has declined from 88.4 per 100 in 1994 to 67.6 per 100 in 2017leading to the demographic dividend. However, demographic window of opportunity by itself is not sufficient condition to become the demographic dividend. Neither is the demographic dividend automatic as the opportunity is a one-time phenomena which could be washed away if we failed to make use of it, he stated.
State Minister Health Seharla Abdulahi for his part said that accelerating universal access to quality, comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health information, education and services, including family planning, is imperative. Improving the health of mothers and children particularly through access to sexual and reproductive health services have consistently remained among the top priorities.
Accordingly, the use of modern family planning methods among currently married women aged 15-49 has phenomenally increased in Ethiopia from 8 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2016 bringing down the fertility rate from 5.9 to 4.6 births per woman during the same period. Much of the credit for this result goes to our Health Extension Programme which brought family planning services to doorsteps.
Despite all the achievements and progresses made, however, there are still challenges. Currently, a little more than one in five women in the country still have unmet need for family planning, the figure being much higher among some section of the population such as the unmarried adolescents and youth. Moreover, the method mix is still skewed towards short acting family planning methods although the share of long acting methods has shown a remarkable increase over the past five years thanks to the tremendous work that was done.
The Government is keenly working to address these challenges and accelerate progress towards increasing access to family planning as stipulated in the Growth and Transformation Plan and the Health Sector Transformation Plan.
UNFPA Country Representative Bettina Maas said that her organization supports family planning in developing countries by ensuring a reliable supply of a full range of modern contraceptives, strengthening the national health system and promoting gender equality.
BY GIRMACHEW GASHAW