Child deaths in TT too high
Tuesday, November 1 2011
United Nations Resident and Co-ordinator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Dr Marcia De Castro yesterday said this country’s mortality rate for children under the age of five was alarmingly high.
De Castro made this statement yesterday during the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) ceremony in which they marked the milestone of the world reaching a population of seven billion worldwide.
“The mortality rate for children under the age of five years in this country is very high, especially when you compared the figures to that of other regions. I think that is a major issue that needs to be addressed,” said De Castro.
At present, according to De Castro, this country’s mortality rate for children under the age of five was 35 for every 1000, whereas, in other regions, the rate was 22 to 1,000.
She added, that with an increasing population worldwide, issues plaguing this country’s health care system needed to be addressed expeditiously.
Also present at the ceremony was Dr Lincoln Douglas, Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development, who was asked if any steps were being taken to address the size of this country’s population in light of the world reaching a population of seven billion responded.
“Well an increase of the population will present challenges as well as opportunities, the most prevalent challenge will be more mouths to feed, more houses to build, education, safety amongst other things. These are the kinds of challenges that a nation over populated will face,” he said. The country’s population is estimated at close to two million.
Douglas when asked if the issue of teenage pregnancies could create an overpopulated country said, “Teenage pregnancies does not contribute to overpopulation. I think in general our culture in this country is a highly sexualised culture and most persons get pregnant from this behaviour. But teenage pregnancy, for any nation on the whole, it takes up a lot of resources from the nation,” he said
He added, “We are responsible for the type of nation we live in, we are responsible for teaching our younger ones how to live and act responsibly. We are responsible for ensuring that rules, laws and morals are enforced, and through these actions we change our culture.”
He said his ministry was prepared to partner with relevant organisations to reduce the factors which were associated with the increase in teenaged pregnancies.
Community Development Nizam Baksh, who also attended the ceremony, said the issue of overpopulation was a national one which needed to be dealt with by all.
“In any given situation, the Government alone does not have to deal with this issue, but civil society has to play a critical role in what has to be done because it’s a national issue that was just raised,” said Baksh. The UNFPA will be leading a global campaign “7 Billion Actions” to build awareness around the opportunities and challenges the world could face with a population of seven billion.