CAIRO – 29 July 2017: Egypt seeks to bring down the fertility rate from 3.5 children per woman to 2.5, according to statements by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health and Population, Khaled Megahed.
Furthermore, the Director of Health Affairs in Cairo Governorate, Hossam Al-Khatib, said on Saturday that the Directorate has 164 family planning clinics and 24 mobile clinics throughout Cairo, all of which perform family planning and reproductive health services. Hadded that 288,000 woman recently received
and 42,038 woman benefited from family planning services provided by 24 mobile clinics across the country.
Al-Khatib also said that 42 percent of women receive family planning methods through the private sector, while 57 percent receive them from governmental hospitals. He added that the average use of family planning methods in Cairo governorate increased to 67 percent as the methods are available in 94 percent of government hospitals.
Over population in Egypt continues to risk the country’s resources and commitment to achieve sustainable development in accordance with Egypt’s development strategy vision 2030. According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Egypt loses nearly 60,000 acres per year as a result of soil erosion and construction. Moreover, the country’s share of water from the Nile, approximately 55 billion cubic meters per year, has remained unchanged since 1954 despite the increase in population. If the population increase rate continues, the state will not be able to support that many people, and national production would be insufficient to meet their needs, thus making the country dependent on imports which further burden the economy.
During the first session of the
in Alexandria on July 24, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said that overpopulation and terrorism are Egypt’s real two threats. in Alexandria on July 24, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said that overpopulation and terrorism are Egypt’s real two threats.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Assiut and Sohag are the most two needy governorates when it comes to maternal health, poverty and health human resources. In its 2014 statistics, UNFPA indicates that at any time in Egypt 11 percent of women (15-49) years are pregnant or have had a live birth, one fifth of non-first births were born within 24 months of a prior birth interval, desired fertility among ever-married women 15-49 is three children, the unmet need for family planning is approximately 13 percent, there is a slight shift in family planning methods mix from long to short term contraceptives, and there are misconceptions around fertility and family planning, in addition to concerns about side effects of contraceptives.
The parliament and government together decided to shift their focus from financing voluntary family planning to a more efficient strategy that supports high-quality family planning services by making them available and accessible for potential users, in an attempt to tackle the population time bomb.
The parliament and government had put several initiatives and recommendations in this regard including:
On the parliament level:
1. Activating the early marriage and school dropout penalty;
2. Dedicating rotational Friday prayer speeches to raise the public awareness on the negative impact of overpopulation.
3. Periodic reporting to reflect the status of annual population increase rate;
4. Enhancing coordination among ministries and relevant partners to address the risks of overpopulation to sustainable development;
5. Promoting the education role in raising the awareness of youth on overpopulation and early marriage risks;
6. Approving the Ministry of Health and Population proposal to link the government’s subsidy system to the number of children in the household as a mean to reduce population growth.
On the governmental level:
1. Intensifying family planning campaigns including the Ministry of Social Solidarity campaign "Two is enough” to encourage families to have no more than two children.
2. Drafting a law that limits the maternity leave to two times instead of three for women working in the public sector.
3. The Ministry of Health and Population to prepare a strategy to bring down the size of the Egyptian family to two children.
4. Increase the food subsidy for families that only have two children at the age of 45 as an incentive to promote family planning.
Population control was relatively successful in Egypt during the 1980s and 1990s as the country’s total fertility rate was brought down from 5.3 children per woman in 1980, to 3.4 in 1998, and to 2.8 in 2011. In 1960s, most Egyptian families had, statistically, 7.2 children.
According to the United Nations annual population survey released on June 21, Egypt ranks 14 out of 27 countries that account for approximately 75 percent of the world’s population according to population size. Furthermore, the
shows that by 2050 ten countries will account collectively for more than half the global population growth - India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the United States, Uganda, Indonesia and Egypt. According to the survey,
On July 11, at the ‘
, at least 37 governments, 16 private companies and 11 partner organizations, including civil society and private foundations, a total of 64 new policies were committed to accelerate progress on rights-based family planning programs and access to modern family planning methods.