UG’s research on family planning, fertility mgt in urban devt policies
University of Ghana School of Public Health research on family planning and fertility management has revealed that integrating family planning and fertility management in Ghana’s urban development policies has several benefits for Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) including lower population growth due to reduced unplanned birth rate, lower demand for urban and municipal services, and reduced environmental pollution and general cost of governing cities.
The research which was led by a Senior Lecturer of the Department of Population and Reproductive Health of the School of Public Health, Dr. John Ganle, rides on the back of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 11 (target 11.3 in particular), which aims to achieve inclusive and sustainable urbanization by 2030.
The research findings come from a scoping review of four existing urban development policies in Ghana, namely, Ghana National Urban Policy: Action Plan, 2012, National Urban Policy Framework, 2012 as well as the Ghana National Spatial Development Framework (2015-2035); Volume II, 2015.
All four existing urban development policies acknowledge urban population growth in Ghana as a major urban development concern.
All four urban development policies reviewed acknowledged increasing population growth as a major concern for urban development. For example, the policies highlighted the fact that growth in urban population in Ghana is currently resulting in housing deficits as demand for housing and shelter exceeds the supply.
Among the four policies reviewed, the National Urban Policy Framework (2012) and the Long-term National Development Plan of Ghana (2018- 2057) highlighted the clearest links between urban development and population growth.
For instance, the National Urban Policy Framework (2012) drew a strong connection between urban development and population growth and went further to outline that the current spate of uncontrollable urban growth has resulted in an increase in slum and squatter settlements, urban insecurity, widening urban poverty, and increasing environmental degradation.
Only one policy, the Ghana National Spatial Development Framework (2015-2035), acknowledges family planning or fertility control as an urban development strategy.
While all policies acknowledged rapid urban population growth as a concern, only the Ghana National Spatial Development Framework (2015-2035) discussed using family planning and/ or use of contraceptives as a strategy to control the increasing population growth so as to promote sustainable urban growth and development in Ghana’s urban centres.
The framework expresses policy attention to prioritising and investing more in family planning in all national-level development plans. The framework particularly pressed on a need to integrate family planning into the plans and activities of Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs), including collaboration with private sector to promote family planning as a strategic tool for urban development.
None of the policies specifically includes family planning and fertility management in the specific programmes and activities proposed to promote sustainable urban growth and development
Among the initiatives, programmes and activities proposed to promote sustainable urban development, the use of family planning was not captured in any of the policies despite being recommended as one of the strategies to control urban population growth and ensure sustainable urban development.
In developing new and/ or revising existing urban development policies, the National Development Planning Commission, Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, and the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority should explicitly include family planning or fertility control as an urban development strategy. It should also include fertility management and family planning in the specific programmes and activities proposed to promote sustainable urban growth, and control urban population growth.
Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) must include, prioritise, and fund fertility and family planning interventions as part of their urban planning and development strategy. This may include collaborating with municipal and district health directorates under the Ghana Health Service to understand existing FP/fertility challenges and needs in different parts of their cities and then supporting them to address such needs.
The Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority and MMDAs should ensure that new or revised urban development policies complement each other as well as have linkages with relevant national health and population policies and programmes developed by the Ministry of Health/ Ghana Health Services and the National Population Council.
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