Science is needed on the front lines of socioeconomic development. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to promote human development by ensuring improvements in a range of areas including poverty alleviation, education, health and environment (United Nations General Assembly, 2000). All goals are interlinked and closely related to population issues. The achievements of such goals are largely influenced by changes in population dynamics including population size.
A major problem with the impact of population dynamics on socioeconomic development in Uganda is fertility rates. Fertility remains highest in the 50 least developed countries – Uganda’s demographic transition has been tremendously delayed by slow economic growth and consequent low levels of investment in human capital development i.e. population growth is indirectly proportional to the socioeconomic development of an area.
Human capital implications
- Nations with rapid population growth have high numbers of young age-groups that place a heavy demand on schooling and employment opportunities
- Failure to meet demands for employment of the working-age populations forces migration – further stretching the capacities of public services needed to build human capital
- Rapid population growth increases existing socio-economic inequalities because poorer people tend to have more children. An analysis of 62 countries reported that this association is particularly stronger in middle-income countries (Kremer M & Chen D 2002).
These implications can be tackled if both causes (high fertility) and consequences (restraints in building human capital) of rapid population growth need to be addressed through increased attention to sexual and reproductive health, in particular, family planning. Uganda becomes better able to build human capital, hence socio-economic development, by meeting family planning and sexual and reproductive health needs of individuals. Women’s ability to control their fertility is the first and the most important step for their empowerment, which would help the MDGs.
Coordinating public talks to enlighten local residents on the different family planning methods is important. It can encourage many people in the third world countries who either do not know or are afraid of the so said side effects of family planning, to participate. In Uganda, many family planning techniques worry women and some advocate of local traditional therapies.
Simple family planning methods include:
- Barrier method
- Condoms use
- Hormonal method
- Use of contraceptive pills
- Mechanical method
- Moon beads
- Others like Exclusive Breast Feeding
Declining fertility and population growth in Uganda contributes to development as shown by their positive influence on economic growth. Since, economic growth is mainly driven by accumulation of human capital; the MDGs can be accomplished by reducing fertility through advocating these simple methods of family planning.
Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations
- How to defuse sub-Saharan Africa’s population bomb (newscientist.com)
- 2010 Philippine Census of Population – a case for passing the RH bill (rightonthemark.wordpress.com)
- Whale population size, dynamics determined based on ancient DNA (terradaily.com)
- Report: Humanity Must Stabilize Population, Consumption or Face ‘Downward Vortex’ of ‘Ills’ (commondreams.org)