Hon. Dr. Robert Kuganab-Lem, MP, Binduri
Hon. Dr. Robert Kuganab-Lem, MP, Binduri

Member of Parliament (MP) for Binduri in the Upper East Region of Ghana, Hon. Dr. Robert Kuganab-Lem is to deliver a paper at this year’s International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 25 in Kenya.

The international conference, which is under the theme: “Accelerating the Promise” will take place in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, from November 12-14, 2019.

The governments of Kenya and Denmark as well as the United Nations Population Fund for Africa (UNFPA) are co-convening the Nairobi Summit on ICPD 25, a high-level conference that aims to mobilise the political will and financial commitments necessary to implement the ICPD Programme of Action.

Speaking ahead of the Summit exclusively to News Ghana, the Ghanaian legislator, who is also a Board Member of the Global Parliamentary Forum said the failure or inability of countries to plan their human resource base is quite dangerous for development.

Human resource, he emphasized is critical in development but added will be beneficial for a country if it is well planned.

He stated, “Human resource is good for development; it is a cardinal issue in development….but where you do not plan your human resource, your human resource cannot be useful when it is not a planned human resource.

The Member of Parliament urged authorities in the West African country to take a second look at country’s population policy and fine-tune it.

“We have become a global village and therefore issues of population are issues of development it is important that as a country, we look at our own national population policy in general so that we will know exactly where we will want to be in the next 20 to 30 years. It is not enough to say we are 30 million or we will be 30 million in 2025. When we are 30 million, what sort of population do we have? Is it an enlightened population? Is it a population by choice or a population by accident? This is very critical if we have to enhance the capacity of our population,” he stated.

There are quite a number of traditional practices in Ghanaian communities and in the West African sub-region which abuse the rights of women and girls and this Dr. Kuganab-Lem believes can be tackled head-on if political leaders and other stakeholders begin to talk about it.

He said, “We know that when we don’t talk about this, nothing will be done, we know that if we don’t highlight this, vulnerable groups in our population will continue to suffer. There is no reason why a woman should die giving birth to a child. So we have to eliminate, not reduce maternal mortality. There shouldn’t be any reason why a woman should die giving birth, there shouldn’t be any reason why a woman or a girl should have pregnancy that she doesn’t want to have.

If that girl, that woman had information, she will have been well educated not to pick this pregnancy in the first place. We know that in the West African sub-region, we have a lot of issues because of our low levels of education and lack of access to family planning and services.”

The Ghanaian parliamentarian explains the benefits that the ICPD 25 will have for participating countries and others.

“We all know how some of our traditional practices are abuses in serious violence against women and girls and so at the International Conference like this, when some of the stories are told in the presence of political leaders, businessmen and volunteers as well as evidence of persons who have suffered these violence, abuse, that it becomes a rallying point for support to reduce all these practices against women and girls.”

Touching on how Ghana has performed with its family planning programme which was introduced in 1970, Dr. Kuganab-Lem, who is also a member of the Health and Judicial Committee in Ghana’s Parliament said notwithstanding the fact that “we have not done very badly, but we need a lot more to be done.”

According to him, information to young women and men about the use of contraception is quite low; for example in 2014, married females (15-19) using modern contraceptives was 17% while married women (15-19) who want to use contraception but have no access was 51% in 2014, and this, he emphasized cannot continue.

The Global Parliamentary Alliance on Health, Rights and Development (GPA), an initiative of the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) is sponsoring 100 parliamentarians from all regions of the world to participate in the Nairobi Summit.

The Parliamentary Forum will focus on how parliamentarians can meet their specific role in delivering on the promise of the ICPD. Enditem

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