A general view of a street in downtown Cairo, Egypt March 9, 2017. Picture taken March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RTX30OAU
CAIRO – 5 November 2017: In December 2015, the Egyptian population reached 90 million. Two years later, it hit 104.5 million, instigating a fast-paced movement by the parliament and the government to combat overpopulation's exacerbating negative social phenomena.
In the fourth Youth Conference in July, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi described overpopulation as a threat that is no less dangerous than terrorism.
According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the population has increased by 16 million since the January 25 Revolution, where a baby is born every 15 seconds.
The deputy head of the Health Committee at the Parliament, Ayman Aboul Ela, told press that the draft law regulating child birth does not include penalties for giving birth to more than three children as that would be unconstitutional. Instead, incentives would be given to families that abide in the form of in-kind subsidies. The draft law identifies the family as a husband and one or more wives.
The deputy head of the Defense and National Security Committee at the Parliament Yehia el-Kedwany added that the committee recommends raising awareness on birth control, and the risks of early marriage through pharmacology and medical school students. That is in addition to a campaign combating dropping out of schools.
Kedwany told Egypt Today that the committee also recommends exempting abiding families from taxes, and establishing a ministry for “people's affairs” to administer the project away from the Ministry of Health.
The Head of the Population and Family Regulation Sector at the Ministry of Health Soad Abdel Meguid said on Sunday that service would be improved in birth control units by providing all birth control methods at subsidized prices.
What is more, a media campaign will be launched in parallel to awareness initiatives in the 12 governorates with the highest birth rates; Beni Sueif, Sohag, Qena, Assiut, Aswan, Luxor, Menya, Beheira, Sharkeya, Kafr El-Sheikh, Giza and Fayoum.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Khaled Megahed, said that Implanon NXT Implant will be available in 5,000 units and pharmacies at subsidized prices, and that its effect lasts for three years. The capsule is inserted under the skin of the non-dominant upper arm to prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation and causing changes to the cervical mucus; making it difficult for the sperm to enter the womb.
Studies demonstrated that most unplanned pregnancy cases occur during the first year after birth while breastfeeding, Megahed added.