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This report highlights trends in population, family planning,, and maternal and child health indicators in Ghana based on DHS surveys conducted between 1988 and 2003. In particular, the report addresses the prevailing demographic situation and describes trends in fertility, family planning, maternal and child health as well as infant and child mortality.
Women now wait longer to have their first birth and the proportion of young women age 15-19 that have had a child or are pregnant with their first child has declined. Current use of any modern contraceptive method has steadily increased for women age 15 to 49, along with their desire to stop childbearing.
Nevertheless, the dramatic decline in fertility experienced in the eighties and nineties appears to have slowed down. The Total Fertility Rate in Ghana Declined between 1988 and 1998 and remained constant through 2003. The median age at first birth among women between the ages of 25 and 49 increased, and adolescent pregnancies decreased.
The percentage of all women between the ages of 15 and 49 who have ever used any modern contraceptive method has steadily increased between 1979 and 2003. The number of currently married women who have responded that they want no more children has increased three-fold since the 1979-1980 study.
Infant and under-five child mortality rates show a marked decline. Compared from 1988 to 2003, surveys show a marked decline in both and under-five mortality in the 1988 GDHS to the 1998 GDHS three earlier surveys, but that decline levels off at during the time of surveyed in the 2003 survey.
Trends in household conditions, attitudes toward family size, children’s medical treatment, and nutritional status of children are also examined.