Uganda has been ranked among “high fertility” countries in the world which will contribute most to the bulge in population size in the next decades, a United Nations report has revealed.
The World Population Prospects, the official UN population projections report, shows that these high fertility countries will see rising population growth till the end of the century.
By this time, it is estimated the world population will be 10.1 billion.
Uganda’s population growth rate, currently at 3.2 per cent is the third highest in the world after Yemen and Niger. There were an estimated 31 million Ugandans by 2010 from just five million in 1948.
This figure is projected to grow to 60 million by 2030 and eventually reach the 100 million mark in 2050.
The UN says global population is expected to pass seven billion by October 31, 2011. The world reached six billion people in 1998 but by 2010, it had reached 6.9 billion. Much of this increase is a consequence of high fertility rates and an equally a high unmet need for family planning services.
“A world of seven billion is both a challenge and an opportunity,” said Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund. “Globally, people are living longer, healthier lives and choosing to have smaller families. But reducing inequities and finding ways to ensure the wellbeing of people alive today – as well as the generations that follow – will require new ways of thinking and unprecedented global cooperation,” he said.
In particular, Dr Osotimehin said population projections underscore the urgent need to provide safe and effective family planning to the 215 million women who lack it worldwide. Uganda’s unmet need for family planning is 41 per cent, meaning that every four of 10 women have no access to family planning services.
State Minister for Planning Fred Omach said low investment in the health sector has made it hard to improve reproductive health services for women. “Our reproductive health and family planning services remain mainly urban-based yet the majority of our women are in rural areas, some of them quite remote where accessibility remains poor,” said Mr Omach.
Dr Jotham Musinguzi, the regional director for Partners in Population and Development, said increased investment in family planning and reproductive health for women will be crucial to achieve UN target on maternal and child health.