Fertility rate in Nigeria too high – Don says

Prof. Josiah Mutihir, a consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with the University of Jos Teaching Hospital, has said that Nigeria’s fertility rate was too high and must be checked.

“Women in Nigeria have an average of 5.3 children per woman. This is high compared to other countries whose total fertility rate is 2.3 children per woman,” Mutihir told the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Tuesday in Jos.

He said that there was a “population explosion threat in Nigeria”, and emphasised the need for family planning.

“We need family planning; it doesn’t necessarily reduce the population but will control population growth,” he said.

Mutihir said that there was an urgent need to watch the fertility rate in Nigeria, revealing that Nigeria currently ranks the 7th country with the highest population in the world.

“By 2050, Nigeria might be ranking the 3rd in terms of countries with the highest population in the world,” he said.

Mutihir opined that Nigeria would not develop if it failed to use family planning to control the growing population.

“We are saying that we should control and not to destroy; we should allow our population grow as our resources become available.

“Family planning never reduces population; it just controls the growth rate of a country,” he pointed out.

According to him, family planning benefits not only parents and their children, but the society and nation at large as it is able to keep the number of new births under control for less population growth.

The consultant stated that the higher fertility rate stretches the country’s available resources, which in turn affects the economic growth of the country.

He said that family planning helps people have the desired number of children, which improves the health of the mother and contributes to the nation’s social and economic development.

The consultant observed that Nigeria’s population was not  growing in line with the available resources and blamed that situation for the rise in social ills in the country.

He explained that family planning had demographic dividends as population grows steadily in line with the resources available for growth of that country.

“Family planning has been known to be directly related to the developmental growth of every nation,” he declared.(NAN)