World Population Day which seeks to focus attention on the importance of population problem was established by the then Governing council of the United Nations Development (UNDP) in 1989.
By resolution 45/216 of December, 1990 the United Nations General Assembly decided that measures be taken to mark World Population Day to enhance awareness of population issues.
In this way it has been decided to commemorate 11 July, 1990 as the World Population Day. Since then, the event is being observed around the world.
The theme adopted in 2018 is ’Family Planning is a Human Right’.
The theme chosen marks the 50th Anniversary of the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights where Family Planning was for the first time globally affirmed to be a human right.
The conference’s outcome, known as the Teheran proclamation stated unequivocally; ’Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.
Embedded in the legislative language is a game-changing realization: ‘Women and girls have the right to avoid health deterioration and hazard due to many pregnancies and too close pregnancy. It will often be possibility to men and women to make a choice when and how often to embrace parenthood. It will avoid unwanted pregnancy.
To mark World Population Day, Dr the Hon Anwar Husnoo, Minister of Health and Quality of Life inaugurated an important workshop at Le Voila Hotel, Bagatelle today. 11 July, 2018 at 9.30 a.m.
It was brought out that Mauritius received UN Population Award in 1990 for its success in its population programme.
Mauritius experiences demographic crises in the early 1960’s when the population growth rate was 3.1 percent per annum. At such a growth rate the population of Mauritius would have increased from about 700,000 in 1960s to nearly 3.5 million.
Though effective Family Planning Programme it has been possible to reduce the average number of children per couple from 6 in 1962 to less than 2 percent to ensure sustainable and manageable population for the country.
Mauritius is now witnessing a demographic shift with declining fertility rate and increasing life expectancy. Total fertility rate is well below replacement level of 2 children per couple. In 2016 the total fertility rate was 1.4 implying that 100 couples had only 140 children instead of 210 children to be able to replace themselves. We are also facing a fast growing population of the elderly. Projection shows that the population of people aged 60 and above will increase from 15.6 % in 2016 to 3.5.2 % in 2056.
There has been decrease of Family Planning methods from 50,956 in 2015 to 48,536 in 2016. It is estimated that there is 11% unmet need for Family Planning.
Our country is facing emerging challenge in relation to tendency for young to be more sexually active with high rate of unwanted pregnancy. There is a rise in adolescent pregnancy. There is need to reorient Family Planning sensitization and education program to target the youth and raise consciousness on family planning.
On the occasion of World Population Day, the stage is set for new attitude, a new frame of mind that family planning is a human right. There will be raising of awareness that family planning and improved maternal services will pave the way for planned parenthood and more responsible approach towards upbringing of children. It is considered that this will contribute towards balanced demographic equilibrium and lead to sustainable and sound population development.