Grave consequences of over-population in Yemen [Archives:2004/763/Health]

August 12 2004

Ismail Al-Ghabiri
The ever-increasing impact of rising population in Yemen is influencing many aspects of life, resulting in lower living standards, and a rise in the number of cases of poverty due to unemployment. Not only that, but there is also a high mortality rate among babies, children and mothers because of low levels of healthcare, and the spread of fatal diseases including malnutrition and infections.
Population increase thwarts illiteracy eradication efforts, and strongly shakes the public education system with the effect that it produces an output of poor theoretical and practical capabilities. This paralyses the scientific and scholarly thought process of the society at large.
The consequences of the population problem are so far reaching that it threatens Yemeni food security and forebodes the perils of a real crisis in drinking water, and water security in general. Ecological health is also decreasing, as man-made pollution infiltrates and spoils the environment.
Hence, the consequences begotten by a population rate exceeding available resources, will set almost insurmountable hurdles before the process of social and economic development. Internationally speaking, they also confine Yemen to the group of the least developed nations.
Therefore, the population problem has been at the top of the government's priority list since the Reunification of Yemen, and is still one of the priorities to be addressed on the government's main agenda.
Due to the dire consequences of the problem, its treatment was originated within the framework of a national strategy, so as to be well established, for it is a national issue that concerns both the government and society. This process was mechanised by the establishment of a specialised institution, the National Population Council. It has formulated the population policies outlined by the national strategy, as well as activating and vitalizing them, so that partnership is achieved among all governmental and non-governmental organizations in addressing the problem.
In a nutshell, we can say that it has drawn significant attention towards this issue. It discerned the problem, identified its reasons, consequences, alternatives, and made suggestions to resolve it. Its efforts have been reflected in a strategic national plan featuring unity and integration between governmental and societal efforts to achieve the population strategy's objectives.
A great deal of information pertaining to the problem has been collected, and many plans have been introduced. But they are still mainly theoretical. Application is, to a large extent, conditional to raising society's awareness about the grave consequences of the problem. Actually, the responsible authorities are taking this fact into account, propagating through all media means and mosque preachers, and undertaking awareness-raising activities, as well as training the personnel of population organisations.