Policy Implications of the Variations in Ghana's Fertility Transition
AbstractThe results of three consecutive Demographic and Health Surveys (GDHS), carried out in 1986, 1993, 1998, show that Ghana's population has been experiencing a fertility transition. An analysis of the data, however, indicates that there are wide and increasing differentials in both the timing and trends in the process among geographic and socioeconomic subgroups of the population. Current Total Fertility Rate (TFR), for example, varies from around 3 to 7. This paper examines the policy implications of the variations in the fertility transition. The transition is associated mainly with urbanization and education (particularly of mothers). The differentials are therefore explained by increasing economic inequalities among the socioeconomic subgroups of the population and the administrative regions. Policies that seek to remove the disparities in the fertility transition in the country must therefore address this underlying factor. While implementation of reproductive health/family planning programmes will have to be continued, even as the level of unmet need for contraception is still high in the population, socioeconomic development goals that seek to address such population problems must be a first priority and also be at the centre of population programmes in the country. Another policy approach will be the documentation of the details of the process at regional, district and other levels because the national averages obscure the peculiar patterns and trends presents at such levels. The quantitative data so far gathered on the various issues in reproduction in the country will also have to be supplemented by micro studies that adopt qualitative approaches to discover issues that are not captured by quantitative approaches.
(Institute of African Studies Research Review: 2003 19(1): 1-14)