This year’s World Population Day was marked on 11th July 2020 globally. In Kenya, the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning Hon. (Amb.) Ukur Yatani led the Kenya’s National celebrations accompanied by The Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender Prof. Margret Kobia. The two cabinet secretaries were flanked by various CASs and the Principal Secretary for State Department for Planning Mr. Torome Saitoti, NCPD Board members and the Director General for the National Council for Population and Development Dr. Mohamed Sheikh.
During these celebrations, the world and nations take stock achievements, reflect on challenges and chart the way forward for population matters. The theme for this year’s World Population Day is Putting Brakes on Covid-19: How to Safeguard the Health and Rights of Women and Girls Now. This year’s World Population Day comes at a time when as a country and the World at large we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic that has changed the way people live and socialize.
During the celebrations, Amb. Yatani noted that over the last two decades, Kenya had made good progress towards improving the quality of life of the citizenry. In the year 2019, the Kenya Population and Housing Census enumerated the Kenya’s Population at 47.5 million. This represented a decline in the population growth rate from 2.9 percent in 2009 to 2.3 percent as compared to 2019. The main factors that contributed to this decline is the decline in the country’s fertility level from 5 children per woman in 2003 to the current 4 children. In addition to this, childhood deaths also declined over the last two decades in harmony with the population policy targets to reduce mortality and fertility so that the population growth can be in tandem with the available resources for sustainable development.
Amb. Ukur Yatani added that in an effort to ensure that the Country builds on the gains already made, the Government had prioritized and made strategic investments through the Medium Term Plan III and the Big Four Agenda programmes and projects in health and wellbeing; education and training; economic and employment creation; housing; and governance sectors with the aim of harnessing the potential of young people and accelerating socio-economic development that would ultimately lead to a better quality of life for the citizenry.
On her part, The Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender Prof. Margret Kobia emphasized on the need for Kenyans to remain steadfast in eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. She noted that the rising cases of teenage pregnancies in Kenya had deprived some many girls of their opportunities to exploit their full potential and further ditching their families into financial constraints. Prof. Kobia urged a multisectoral approach towards generation of zero teenage pregnancies in Kenya.
The function was attended by various Chief Administrative Secretaries including CAS for the National Treasury and Planning Hon. Nelson Gachuhia, CAS for Health Dr. Rashid, CASs for ICT, Youth and Innovation, Ms. Nadia Ahmed Abdalla, and Ms. Maureen Mbaka and CAS for Labour And Social Protection Patrick Ole Ntutu and PS State Department For Planning Mr. Saitoti Torome. The UN body was represented by the UNFPA Country Representative by Dr. Ademola Olajide, and the UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Siddhart Chartajee.