By Ani Mejlumyan
YEREVAN (Eurasia.net) – Armenia’s government is undertaking a new effort to reverse the country’s demographic decline, including by testing the fertility of teenage girls.
Armenians have long been concerned about the declining population of the country, which currently stands at about 3 million at most. According to the latest projections from the United Nations Population Fund, that number is expected to decline further, to about 2.8 million, by 2050.
Former President Serzh Sargsyan announced in 2017 a plan to increase the population to 4 million by 2040 by increasing the birthrate and discouraging emigration. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, after taking over the next year, one-upped Sargsyan by promising to boost the population to 5 million by 2050.
Health Minister Arsen Torosyan has rolled out the new government’s program, and it included three components. The first is “additional screening of 15-year-old girls, who are entering the age of fertility, to identify health problems and to prevent and cure infertility,” Torosyan said during a government meeting on March 5. Secondly, newly married couples will be provided medical check-ups “to identify and treat most of the problems that occur during pregnancy planning,” he said. And third, the government will expand a program providing prenatal exams “to reduce the number of miscarriages,” Torosyan said.
“The program is aimed at carrying out demographic reforms and promoting fertility,” he said.