Fertility levels in Namibia lowest in sub-Saharan Africa

01 Aug 2014 14:20pm

WINDHOEK, 30 JUL (NAMPA) ? Although fertility levels are high among young women, the Namibian population may not be able to reproduce itself in future as there will not be enough girls to replace mothers, the Namibia 2011 Census Fertility Report has revealed. The report which was launched by First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba on Tuesday, stated that fertility levels in Namibia are still among the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. Regional estimates indicate high fertility levels in some predominantly rural regions such as Kunene and Ohangwena, with the lowest fertility levels observed in the Khomas Region. Similar trends were detected at constituency level within these regions. Fertility levels are high among young people in Namibia, and the majority of young people are in consensual unions, a situation worth investigating further for policy intervention. It said education, marital status and employment status of women have a significant influence on their decision whether to have children or not. Homemakers, unemployed women, women in subsistence farming and unpaid family workers experience high fertility levels. The report further indicated that 68 births per 1 000 women was high for persons aged 15 to 19, a situation which may be attributed to early marital relationships, particularly consensual unions and educational differences among young mothers. ?It is notable that while the government of Namibia has put up advanced policies and programmes to improve the availability and accessibility of health services to the people, their usage might be compromised by lack of awareness and accessibility, predominantly in rural regions,? read the report. This compromise has a negative impact on the health of the adolescents and their infants, and it also contributes to high levels of poverty, illiteracy and a low level of education and thus a poor quality of life in the country. According to the report, it is obvious that the target to reduce the fertility rate to 3.5 children by 2015 as stipulated in the Namibia Population Policy, paper no.5, 1997 is no longer necessary due to the fact that the fertility rate continues to decline even below the set target. The study could, however, not reveal reasons why some women may not have children, and suggested further investigation on the causes and consequences of childlessness in Namibia. (NAMPA) EK/ND/