Malaysia – The Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family, and Childhood Development, Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, is concerned about Sarawak’s dropping birth rate.
Sarawak’s birth rate has been declining for three years in a row, she added.
According to her, the total number of births in Sarawak in 2019 was 33,304, but it fell to 31,176 in 2020.
She said that according to data from the National Registration Department, the overall number of births declined to 24,081 last year and that they are concerned about the deteriorating trend since 2019.
The subject of fertility is one that is near to the heart of their ministry, she told a press conference yesterday after a delegation from Sunway Medical Centre visited her.
Fatimah stated that her ministry will continue to keep a close eye on the Sarawak birth rate, including births by non-Sarawakian women married to Sarawakian men.
Over the same time period, the number of kids born to non-Sarawakian mothers followed the same pattern.
In terms of birth rates, she also indicated that there is a declining tendency among non-Sarawakian moms. It is a source of concern for some in the ministry.
Sunway delegates told her today (yesterday) that the reaction from couples has been quite positive since its reproductive center was established in Kuching, she added.
Dr Edawati Dahrawi Edrus, its resident reproductive doctor, said there were various causes for the reduction in birth rate.
Among these was the delay in marriage by women owing to employment and school commitments. She stated that the average age for women to conceive is between 25 and 35 years old, and that after 35, the odds of women becoming pregnant after marriage reduce to around 80%. Sicknesses and illnesses are other factors.