EDITORIAL: Decline in fertility rate will improve quality of population

The 5th demographic and health survey, released by the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda yesterday, shows an improvement in the country’s health indicators.

The 5th demographic and health survey, released by the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda yesterday, shows an improvement in the country’s health indicators.

The survey examined progress in various health indicators such as fertility levels, family planning, nutrition, child and maternal mortality, among others.

Notable in the report is the decline in the fertility rates from 6.1 in 2010 to 4.2 in 2014/2015. If one closely looks at the journey of transformation in Rwanda over the last decade, it is not surprising that today a Rwandan woman prefers fewer, manageable children. The Rwandan woman has been socially and economically transformed through education.

Educated women tend to have fewer children and are more empowered and independent in decision making compared to their illiterate counterparts. Also, educated women prefer small and manageable health families.

Over the last decade, Rwanda has taken measures to empower the girl-child in all spheres of life, and population experts attribute the decline in high fertility rates to this.

Today, more Rwandan girls join school and go up to the highest level of the education ladder. More women today are educated and empowered to make decisions regarding their reproductive health. Therefore, the decline in fertility rate is largely due to the  development initiatives and the general sensitsation of the population on the need to have smaller, manageable families. As a result, the quality of the population will get better since more Rwandans are realising that having small but good quality families is the way to go.

However, there is need for more sensitization on the need for people to produce children they are able to take care of. In the rural areas we still have cases of women producing many children that end up without good care.

This should be addressed by the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders starting from the grassroots level.

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