Letter from Africa: Must Ghanaian women be restricted to a few babies?

Women in Tamale in Ghana walking each with a baby on their back Symbol copyright Getty Photographs

In our series of letters from African reporters, Elizabeth Ohene considers the controversial thought to limit girls to having three small children in Ghana.

Among the Ga, the folk who’re indigenous to Ghana’s capital, Accra, a lady is entitled to a are living sheep on the supply of her tenth kid. The word for it’s “nyongmato”.

I’M now not making this up even if it does sound like the roughly apocryphal story that is continuously made up.

loads of very important people among the Fuel can testify to this. Unfortunately, I’ve now not met any girl who has actually were given a reside sheep for having given birth to 10 kids.

Certainly, I’ve never met any woman who has had 10 kids.

Image copyright Getty Pictures Image caption Ghana’s population has grown from 5 million in 1957 to almost 30 million today

i used to be scandalised and that i spent all of the funeral going over those figures and moaning to myself how simple it was once to find the reasons for the poverty in Ghana.

I Have been waging a lonely unpopular battle in regards to the fee of inhabitants enlargement in our us of a and against women having such a lot of young children, however to no avail.

I roll out what I bear in mind to be a valid argument that i thought would win over all doubters.

I cite Norway, which had a inhabitants of 3.5 million to Ghana’s five million on the time of our independence in 1957.

Today, there are 5.3 million other folks residing in Norway whilst Ghana has a population of just about 30 million.

‘We do not depend children’

I make the argument that although none of our rulers ever stole any public finances, we might still have economic problems at this rate of inhabitants growth.

The remaining time I visited Lillehammer in Norway, I wrote in my column concerning the distinction in our eventualities. I mentioned it’s no marvel the whole lot is bursting at the seams and we are without end being worried about the lack of classrooms.

Someway, these arguments do not lower any ice with people right here as a result of it’s thought to be in extremely bad style to whinge in regards to the selection of kids anyone has.

As any person as soon as claimed to me: “In our custom we don’t rely kids.”

Elizabeth Ohene:

Symbol copyright Elizabeth Ohene

“Dr Appiah is an incredibly brave lady. She has proposed that ladies need to be restricted to having three youngsters”

the good news is that now i do not feel by myself in this combat.

Into the fray has jumped the executive Director of the Nationwide Inhabitants Council, Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, and consider me, she is an extremely brave girl.

She isn’t talking in parables, she is immediately to the point. She has proposed that ladies should be restricted to having 3 youngsters.

and she says this have to be obligatory.

If a woman is going beyond this sacred collection of 3, she would be punished by being denied get right of entry to to free government services.

‘Outrage from males’

We have to communicate about the quality of life, Dr Appiah has been arguing.

i don’t recall that any one in an legit position has been this specific in Ghana about circle of relatives planning ever sooner than.

Image copyright Getty Images Symbol caption Ghana’s fertility charge is falling, but still, on average, a lady has four youngsters

we have had a family planning policy considering that 1970 but regularly other folks only communicate concerning the spacing of births and then hope that the spacing will lead to the birth of fewer youngsters.

This time around Dr Appiah is urging a cap at the collection of kids a girl must have.

it is attention-grabbing to note that that the folk who declare to be outraged by way of the notion to restrict the selection of children had been largely males. I Am sorry none in their arguments stick in my mind long sufficient to repeat here.

I Have now not yet heard any girl bitch that they don’t want the number of children they can need to be restricted.

Ghana’s fertility rate, that may be the common collection of children per woman, lately stands at four, though that determine has fallen regularly over the final 30 years.

Another attention-grabbing statistic worth noting is that there has now not been a single loss of life from measles in Ghana in view that 2002. Measles used to be one in every of the principle baby killers, and the primary justification for having many births.

Symbol copyright Getty Images Symbol caption there is a rural-city divide in the birth fee in Ghana

This prior week, I Have been doing an excessively unscientific survey.

Each And Every pregnant lady I’ve seen, I Have asked which quantity it was once and I’ve now not but met a woman in her 3rd pregnancy. But I’M almost certainly having a look in the improper position by means of asking working girls in banks, in workplaces and stores; the top delivery rates can also be discovered most commonly in the rural spaces.

There would possibly but be a few women who’re aspiring to get that live sheep.

we would most likely have to find an equally horny present for every lady who makes a decision to forestall at 3 or underneath. the issue is i will not suppose what can most likely problem the “10-baby sheep”, nyongmato.

Extra from Elizabeth Ohene:

The quiz show taking Ghana by typhoon ‘Why I cherished Winnie Mandela, warts and all’ Why did Swaziland take 50 years to change its identify? Why Ghanaians are so gradual to bury their lifeless

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