Policy Implications and Recommendations
Age and sex structure
The age-sex composition of the population, at a given time, has a substantial influence on the potential for population growth in the future. For example, an extreme preponderance of one sex would tend to result in a lowered fertility and slower growth rate of the population. Such imbalances also affect the social, household and economic composition of the population. In the region, there is a slightly higher male preponderance in the younger age segments while females tend to be in the majority in the economically active age segment and the older ages. Differences in birth rates are the principal explanation for differences in age composition.
Districts with high birth rates, particularly Krachi and Nkwanta, have a young age composition whereas those with relatively low birth rates have a relatively older the age composition. There is therefore the need to continue with, and intensify, fertility education programmes that target child spacing and contraceptive practices which are necessary to reduce the high levels of fertility in the districts. Non-contraceptive and non family planning practices and attitudes that reduce high fertility also need to be encouraged and sustained.
For improved and enhanced quality living of communities, it is necessary that each household has access to pipe borne water, electricity and a flush toilet. The results of this report show, however, that most of these facilities tend to be non-existent in all but a small fraction of homes. In sum, households tend to consist of about five persons in a few rooms, without running water, electricity, or flush toilets. Rapid strides are however being made to provide electricity to both rural and urban households, in addition to improving upon the quality of urban housing.
One of the objectives of preparing a district report such as this one is to emphasize the importance of district specific concerns for various development strategies. The overall analysis suggests a gross inadequacy in the provision of community amenities. Of major concern is the non-availability of toilet and waste disposal facilities. In particular, the absence of W.Cs could have been made up for by the construction of KVIPs. These two facilities are, however, not common to most households in the districts, most probably because of the cost of construction and the need for piped water into the household to enhance the use of a water closet. The fact that most of the households use public toilets, pit latrines or go to toilet in the bush, and at the same time dispose of waste (liquid and solid) into gutters and compounds, is indeed an invitation to public health hazards.
Another area of concern is the use of wood as the main source of fuel for domestic consumption. While electricity is available for street lighting, it is not so much patronized as a domestic (or household) consumption good, particularly in the rural areas. Neither is the use of gas for cooking patronized even in most urban areas. The major obstacle to the use of gas for cooking is the relatively high cost. The problem for planners is to look for a way to cut down on the use of wood by encouraging the use of gas, as a replacement for wood, as a cooking fuel. The pattern of fuel use in the region essentially depicts the extent of deforestation in the region and, if unchecked, may lead to a total deforestation in the region
Household Composition And Structure
Given that the average household of 4.7 persons is a mix of parents (head with or without spouses), children and other relatives, it seems that the ideal housing situation would be an average of about three rooms per household. If room occupancy is examined from the angle of crowding, however, it would seem that two rooms should be a minimum for a household of five persons. It is, however, evident from the data that most households have inadequate sleeping rooms, particularly when personal property and household belongings occupy a sizable portion of sleeping rooms.
On the basis of a rough generalization that the higher the standard of living in a district, the larger the average number of rooms in the housing units, then the Jasikan, Kadjebi and Nkwanta Districts will be the most deprived in terms of room occupancy. To measure crowding, it is necessary to calculate the number of persons per room.