Tanzania`s population growth rate worries Marie Stopes 2007-12-24 09:45:07 By Guardian Reporter The country`s population growth rate is seen as serious threat to the well-being of the nation and if the trend is left unchecked Tanzania will fall into a trap of an unmanageable population as most people will suffer unmet social and economic needs, according to Marie Stopes Tanzania (MST) Advocacy and External Relations Manager Johnbosco Basso. Addressing the media on Reproductive, Child Health Services (RCHS) and HIV/Aids Challenges in Tanzania in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, Basso said currently the country`s growth rate stands at 5.7 children per woman. He therefore warned that without serious interventions the country will not be able to attain the Millennium Development Goals. He explained that, the nation will continue to experience high maternal and infant deaths because the majority of women in rural areas are unable to access health care services during birth, consequently the majority deliver their children at home. He noted that in Tanzania maternal morbidity is 578 in every 100,000 live births and the situation is more precarious in rural areas where there is no health manpower facilities and inadequate equipment and drugs. Basso said as HIV continues to bite the nation will suffer an unbearable burden of caring for HIV/Aids neonatal and mothers hence a weaker population of unproductive ill health women and children. According to him, Tanzania`s population is growing at a very fast rate notwithstanding inhibiting factors such as HIV/Aids, maternal and child deaths, as it is estimated to reach 87 million by the year 2035. MST official Abdallah Mwichande noted that in order to manage population expansion, sensitization on child spacing, advocating for better reproductive health and child health services are inevitable. He said reproductive health, safe motherhood and accessible family planning services are key to unlocking unnecessary future population increase challenges. He said the MST works in several regions to complement government efforts on addressing population inter alia the area of safe delivery, provision of modern family planning methods, health care HIV Aids and poverty reduction. ``Slower population growth creates the potential to increase the rate of economic growth. Rapid fertility decline at the country level helps create a path out of poverty for many families,`` noted Abdullah. He said low health care seeking behaviour coupled with, limited community involvement in family planning programmes and misconceptions of modern family planning methods such as pills, injection, implants, loops, vasectomy and condoms remain major challenge in arresting population increase trends.