11th July, also known as the “World Population Day” and has been in the calendars since the year 1989. Before understanding the aim and importance of World Population Day, let’s learn something about its history. It was the governing council of the United Nations Development Programme that decided that 11th July will be celebrated as World Population Day. This was done after the Five Billion Day was celebrated on 11th July 1987 which was basically a landmark for the world population; it was the day the world population was approximately Five Billion. It was Dr. K.C.Zachariah who came up with this idea when he was working as the Senior Demographer at the World Bank.
The main aim of World Population Day is to spread awareness about the rapidly increasing population. Data shows that the world population increases by around 100 million every 14 months, in 2019, the world population stood at 7,700,000,000! Yes those many zeroes, so it’s high time we realize that population explosion is a real problem and we need to come up with a solution. World Population Day is basically an awareness campaign for reproductive health and rights because the only way to stop the population from growing so rapidly is by educating people about sex, contraception, and family planning.
Apart from this, World Population Day also aims to increase awareness about the various issues present in the ever-growing population like gender equality, struggles of poverty, human rights, and mental health. As the population grows, more and more of these problems come up. Mental health is one such concern that has gained much-needed recognition in recent times and should be a priority for everyone. As per reports, India is the second most populated country in the world, behind China by a very small margin. Being a developing country, the rapidly increasing population doesn’t help India; it is struggling to get the resources to sustain the 1.36 billion people.
The motto for the World Population Day, 2018 was “Family planning is a human right”, basically the World Population Day in 2018 focused on family planning being a human right and women have the right to refuse multiple pregnancies. Advocates around the world have been trying to educate people about the importance of family planning. The main focus has been the rural areas because people are illiterate and don’t know about contraception or family planning, so it is very important to reach out to them. Urban areas have started to see improvement, people plan their families and keep a healthy 3-4 year gap between children, and however, many people in the rural area are still unaware.
Another important aim of the World Population Day is to spread awareness about reproductive health. As per statistic, approximate 850 women lose their lives during their pregnancy due to their poor reproductive health. Many women give birth to weak malnourished children because they couldn’t get desire nutrition. Reproductive health has been given a lot of importance, as to have healthy children; you need to have a healthy mother first. Awareness is being spread about why reproductive health is important and how can we boost it. Different home remedies and some lifestyle changes can bring about a drastic improvement in reproductive health.
Sex Education is a major concern right now, reports show that almost 15 million pregnancies were recorded in the age group 15-19 worldwide and almost 4 million ended in abortion either due to poor reproductive health or pregnancy-related complications. It is very important to teach children at an early age about sex. Even today in India, parents are nor comfortable talking about sex to their children, what they need to understand is if they don’t talk to them about it, their children will learn about it from somewhere else, so it’s better they have the conversation, that way they can teach them the right things. It’s high time, we realize that treating sex as sin is not the solution; instead, children should be educated by sexual health, consent, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases.
If people are aware, then hundreds of unwanted pregnancies can be avoided. World Population Day focuses on awareness on the use of contraception and how can they prevent pregnancies. In fact, many countries have started providing free contraception in rural areas. Apart from all this, important issues like gender equality have also been raised, various steps have been taken to reduce the gap between the two genders and provide them with equal opportunities. India has another very important issue to tackle – Child marriage. This age-old tradition has been almost demolished, but they’re still a few remote areas where it takes place. Marrying off a young girl of 13-14 and expecting her to take the responsibilities of a married woman is inhumane and has to be stopped immediately.
There have been many awareness campaigns on the baby’s health; a lot of emphases is being given to post-pregnancy care for both the mother and child. India has a substantial number of malnourished children and steps have to be taken to tackle this problem. Poverty in India is so prevalent that parents are unable to provide proper nutrition to their children. In the year 2018, India recorded 8.8 lakh below five deaths and the number keeps on increasing.
Let’s look at the summary of the objectives of the World Population Day:
It is celebrated to empower both men and women, provide them with opportunities to fulfill their basic needs.
Sex Education and awareness about the different ways to avoid unwanted pregnancies has been the motto for the longest time.
Primary education for both boys and girls. Governments are ensuring that every child at least gets basic primary education.
Education on gender stereotypes. Stereotyping gender has been present for ages and it’s time to stop doing that. Awareness has been spread about not defining roles to a specific gender.
Educating people about sexually transmitted diseases, there are many people who think that using contraception is to only prevent pregnancies; hence they need to be told that it also helps with combating the spread of STDs like AIDS, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea, etc.