Participants to a reproductive health seminar have called for more efforts to address the country’s increasing population and its impact on economic development.
Prof Sam Maghimbi, University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Demographic Expert told participants that the increasing fertility rate in the country signified what he believes to be ‘development setbacks’ from family to national level.
Increased fertility rate slow efforts towards poverty reduction and the attainment of set Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he argued.
“For the economy to grow, the standard of living among citizens needs also to improve. Statistics indicate improvements in economic growth, yet standards of living have been decreasing thanks to high population…” he pointed out.
Currently, the country is experiencing 6.7 percent increase in fertility rate for rural women and 3.7 percent for urban women. However this means that every day the country loses a single mother due to child birth.
Prof Maghimbi said that only through promoting women as active agents for social change and not victims thereof, would the community lower its fertility rate.
Dr Cosmas Sokoni feels that the adoption of family planning techniques to curb population growth is undermined by male chauvinistic cultural tendencies that are very much alive in our modern communities.
He painted an ugly portrait of reality listing what, in his expert opinion, the causes of the population explosion as illiteracy, use of force and misguided perceptions.
Total fertility rate represents the number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years. This indicator shows the potential for population change in the country.
Data from the index-mundi site that contains detailed country statistics, charts, and maps compiled from multiple sources, explain that, a rate of two children per woman is considered the replacement rate for a population, resulting in relative stability in terms of total numbers. Rates above two children indicate populations growing in size and whose median age is declining. Higher rates may also indicate difficulties for families, in some situations, to feed and educate their children and for women to enter the labour force.
Rates below two children indicate populations decreasing in size and growing older. Global fertility rates are in general decline and this trend is most pronounced in industrialised countries, especially Western Europe, where populations are projected to decline dramatically over the next 50 years.