By Francis Tim Mbom
Cameroonian couples have been called to equate the number of children they will want to bring forth with their family resources and that of the country as Cameroon joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Population Day on Monday, July 11.
The celebrations were presided at by the SDO of Fako, Emmanuel Engamba ledoux, on behalf of the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, MINEPAT.
In a prelude to the celebrations to mark this day in Limbe for the Southwest Region, MINEPAT in collaboration with the Fako Divisional Delegation of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, on Friday June 8, organised a round table conference.
The Delegate of Youth Affairs, Mbua Issac Ekombe, noted that the government is driving to ensure that families should be able to bring forth only children they can conveniently care for their education, health and general wellbeing until these children come of age.
He said it is good families and the society as a whole when people go on to mass produce children whom they cannot adequately educate, feed or cloth.
“We are talking here of a qualitative and not a quantitative population,” he said.
The World Bank estimates Cameroon’s population at 27 million and the country is ranked amongst the poorest countries in Africa with a per capita income of approximately 3,740 dollars, that is, about FCFA 2.3 million per year.
40 percent of Cameroonians are said to be living below the poverty line, that is, living on less than one US Dollar or FCFA 620 a day.
During the launching activities, the participants, amongst them several youths, were drilled on skills to guide them make good choices whenever they shall decide to start making children.
The Divisional Delegate of the Ministry of the Economy, Bisong Pascaline, said that, before the Government carries out any project. It has to do a lot of planning so that the said project, when completed, should be able to adequately meet the needs of the beneficiary population. It is for this reason that she said Cameroonians need to, equally, start planning the number of children based on their means or earnings.
The Southwest Focal Point Person for Reproductive Health, Nkwete Rihanna, drilled participants on the different birth control methods recommended by the Government in Cameroon.
She treated the participants on how to apply the natural birth control methods; use of the female and male condoms, how and when birth control pills can be used and the safe use of intrauterine devices (IUDs), which she said was the best option.
She said the IUD, if well implanted, can prevent a woman from becoming pregnant for a period as long as ten years. While the above are reversible methods, she, nonetheless, talked about the non-reversible methods.
Meantime, the Divisional Delegate of Women Empowerment and the Family dwelt on the rights that women, even in marriage have over their bodies. Ms. Lilian Limunga Luma also warned against parents who are wont to give their underage girls in for marriage instead of educating them that the law was not on their side. She said her office was open to counsel couples who find themselves in difficulties in case of agreeing on how many children they should have.
The Conference also had the Delegate of Culture who talked on the cultural beliefs that Africans attach to the issues of bringing forth children, especially those who believe that having many children is a source of wealth and strength as a man.
Today, the world’s population stands at 8 billion with Africa, the least developed continent, counting over a billion persons.
Fako SDO noted that, by the time the world reaches 10 billion, Cameroon’s population would likely be 46 million.
The SDO handed over a huge consignment of farming tools to assist farmers across Fako and beyond to be able to produce more to feed the population. Amongst the items were two motor-tricycle bikes, rakes, grass cutters, lawn mowers, diggers and more.