Health Problem in Yemen and its Population Dimension [Archives:2002/02/Health]

January 7 2002

Ismael Al-Ghabiry
Yemen Times
Population growth largely interacts with birth and mortality rates beside external and internal emigration. The population growth rate in Yemen totaled 3.7 percent within the years extending from 1988 to 1994. The rate of fertility amounted to 7.7 for each women. In 1994 the fertility rate topped to 7.4 according to the population census of 1994. Yet, the world average fertility rate is three children for women. Early marriage and the repeatedly giving birth to new children plus the non-use of birth control have greatly contributed to this growth in Yemen.
Yemen has entered the second phase of the demographic shift, which is characterized by a relative constancy. The low number of mortality rate has also contributed to the population growth rate most probably because of the noticeable retreat of the number of epidemics, malnutrition, diarrhea, respiratory track diseases, as well as the hygiene-related diseases.
Undoubtedly, the relative improvement in the quality of health care has had a role in the reduction of mortality rates in Yemen. The life expectancy rate has also increased in Yemen from 35 years in the 1960s to 48 years in 1994, according to the population senses of 1994. Despite the rise in the life expectancy in Yemen, this rate is still one of the lowest in the world, even when compared with rates in the developing countries which are at an average of 63 years.
The ever-increasing population growth rate mainly results from the gap between the increase in the birth rates and reduction of the mortality rates. High growth rates negatively affects provision of all kinds of services, particularly providing appropriate healthcare for people. Similarly, all kinds of services are drastically affected owing to this increase, as the newly-born population are usually not taken into account when outlining the development plans of the country. The environment and the healthcare provision will inevitably be the major victims of this increase. Thus, the authorities concerned should be aware of the negative consequences of the unplanned population increase. Building up awareness about the gravity of population growth should be the responsibility of both the authorities in charge and the local community, as well. Besides, promoting the adoption of different means of birth control, particularly through the different forms of media should be given attention and strengthened. All people should be attentive to the fact that the rise in population will directly affect the way we live, starting from water down to proper sewerage.