Monday, April 7, 2014

Planning Commission revisits population policy

The Planning Commission is set to review the National Policy on Population for the second time since 1992, with a view to address recent demographic challenges affecting the country. Under the programme, the government in collaboration with the private sector will add issues concerning sustainability of incomes for large numbers of people, promotion of gender equality and women empowerment. It will also look into global changes which have affected human development plans.  Joyce Mkinga, the commission’s head of Information, Communication and Education unit told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that since 2006 when the policy was first reviewed, several developments have occurred at the local and wider international level, with direct relation to people’s lives. Internationally there is need for a new push in order to maintain sustainable development on issues related with human population such as people living in the Diaspora, changes resulting from global warming, global food scarcity and other issues, she said. The national population census of 2012 showed changes in reproduction, deaths and rates of immigration, indicating the need to review available statistics to see how to cope with rising challenges in various spheres. Preliminary statistical analysis of the national population census of 2012 shows that various indicators for human development have changed, and in view of this new policies and strategies are needed in order to implement various work plans related to population and development. On the basis of the statistics collected under the earlier national policy in 2006 when the total population was 38 million and now stands at around 45 million, the government is seeking to adapt to some rapid changes in human development plans. 

Joyce Mkinga

The Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey of 2010 showed that maternal and children mortality rates had been reduced from 529 in 1990 to 454 in 2010 for every 100,000 births. The number of children a woman is likely to bear has fallen significantly from the 1988 census to the more recent demographic survey. The report similarly shows that there had been high rates of rural migration to urban centers or to semi-urban places elsewhere. Cross border immigration of youths from one country to another in search of job opportunities  was on the rise due to economic and socially circumstances, along with individual security reasons, noticeably in the Great Lakes zone, the ministerial official noted. “Due to emerging changes the government has seen the need to review the national policy in line with taking account of the changes in formulating strategies to cope with the rising challenges,” she said. Under the review programme, the National Policy on Population will address most burning issues and emphasise on planning and implementing specified strategies in areas like lack of employments for youths and special groups. Others to be focused are education at all levels from primary to higher learning institutions, legal ownership of natural resources such as land and infrastructure by prioritizing people with special needs, along with urban and rural development planning systems. Others listed areas for priority are reproductive health based on traditional means and customs by ensuring that practitioners follow laid down regulations. The latter include the requirement of education for all and strategies to enhance health and reproductive status, and finally to ensure observance of human rights at spheres of society and government activity, she added.

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