Women’s fertility is cause of concern says Egyptian minister
Birth rates in Upper Egypt must be curbed as fertility rates continue to remain high with more than 1 million Egyptian women under-35 who have at least one child, said Egypt's Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali.
Speaking to al-Mehwar TV in a 90-minute interview, Wali said birth control programmes in Upper Egypt - where the fertility rate is the highest in Egypt - must will be set up to prevent women from getting pregnant.
There are 1,003,632 Egyptian women in the region under 35-years old who have given birth to up to three children and are still able to become pregnant for another ten years, Wali added.
Despite blaming "cultural practices" such as early marriage and the desire to have many children, family planning programmes - such as Kefaya 2 - are being established to raise awareness for family planning and lowering birth rates.
She had also said the Egyptian government's overall inability to manage birth rates has contributed to Egypt's weakening economy.
High birth rates are at times a subject of mockery in Egyptian media, with women being blamed and shamed for succumbing to the cultural pressure of having large families.
There is criticism from some quarters that women do not have adequate access to family planning provisions.
In June, Amr Adeeb - a TV personality known to be close to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's regime - lambasted women for giving birth on his show.
"Four children born every minute, that's one every 15 seconds," he cried at the camera. Amr looked at his watch and shouted "here, another one was just born".
"What, have you got nothing better to do?” he added, smirking at the camera.
Wali's comments came a day before the 2017 census results became public.
Latest census figures have left Egyptians officials alarmed after it was announced on Saturday that the Egyptian population now stands at 95 million.
The figures were announced during a televised ceremony in which the findings of the country's latest census were read by Abu-Bakr el-Gindy, head of the state's statistics bureau.