By Khetam Malkawi

AMMAN – A lack of coordination among partners has caused the country to miss its health and demographic goals for 2010, according to the Higher Population Council (HPC).

A lack of coordination and commitment are among the challenges facing the implementation of the country’s 2008-12 national reproductive health strategy, an HPC official said on Sunday.

In a meeting with the press yesterday, HPC Secretary General Raeda Qutob said the council’s partners have failed to meet a deadline to achieve some of the strategy’s 2010 benchmarks, which might delay its general goals in reproductive health and demographic opportunities.

For example, figures presented yesterday revealed that the total fertility rate last year ranged between 3.6 to 3.7 births per woman, a figure the HPC hopes to lower to 3.1 by 2012.

She stressed that the delay in implementing the plan will affect the strategy, which calls for decreasing the maternal mortality rate from 19.2 per 100,000 in 2009 to 10.3 per 100,000 by 2012, and infant mortality from 15 per 100,000 to 14 per 100,000 during the same period of time.

According to Qutob, the council coordinates, follows up and monitors the work of its partners, but does not implement programmes.

“The council forms a reference for policy makers regarding population issues as it works towards creating a balance between population growth and available economic resources,” Qutob said.

She called on the media to follow up on the implementation of the strategy with HPC partners, which include the ministries of health and awqaf and Islamic affairs, USAID, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, John Hopkins University in addition to various community-based organisations.

According to a former study launched by the HPC, the Kingdom’s population grew by 2.5 per cent annually over the last decade, and is expected to double by the year 2030. The number of females of reproductive age (15-49) is expected to increase to two million by the year 2020 from 1.3 million in the year 2004, it added.