World Population Day 2012
According to the book Megachange, The World in 2050, it took 250 000 years for the world to reach a population of 1 billion. And it took just 12 years to add its latest billion, taking the number to 7 billion. Such an alarming rise in population with the ever depleting resources of Mother Earth is definitely a cause for concern.
The United Nations observes July 11 every year as the World Population Day. First observed in the year 1989, the date was chosen since it was on July 11, 1987 that the world population touched 5 billion. Events are held on this day to focus our attention on various issues related to population and the urgent need to implement programs to find a solution to these issues.
A population explosion puts an extra demand not only on the natural resources and environment, but also on the availability of jobs and health care facilities. The theme of this year's World Population Day focuses on the health care aspect and is titled "Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services."
Reproductive health care in this context covers three main aspects:
• First is the availability of contraceptive methods. There are millions of women who would like to delay or avoid pregnancy but are unable to do so since they do not have access to contraceptives. If these women are assured easy access to contraceptives, it would go a long way in controlling population growth. Besides women, contraceptives should also be easily available to men.
• Second is the issue related to maternal and infant mortality. Numerous women and babies die during childbirth due to inadequate health care facilities during pregnancy and delivery. The United Nations draws our attention to this group and urges countries to implement programs that provide adequate health care facilities during pregnancy and delivery.
• Third is the issue of sex education to youngsters. Youngsters entering the reproductive age group need to be provided with the necessary knowledge, skills and services to protect them and guide them to take appropriate decisions. They need to understand the benefits of limiting the size of their families and the necessary methods for the same.
Besides providing health care facilities related to reproduction, countries should also ensure that these facilities are available equally to all individuals irrespective of socio-economic status.
Controlling the growth of population is the need of the hour and has to be taken up on a war footing by countries all over the globe.