Thursday, March 5, 2009

The relationship between load shedding and pregnancy

This news is interesting. Following rapid fall in hydro electricity generation, the government of Nepal cut power supply for almost 16 hours a day (this means, only 6 hours of power in 24 hours!). This has restricted most people in their houses (and increased the time invested with family members).

The unintended consequence: more number of pregnancies reported at hospitals. Could increasing hours of load shedding lead to higher population growth rate? I hope not, especially for a poor country like Nepal, which already has one of the highest population growth rates in the world! This could potentially further lower per capita at a time when real income is already expected to decrease due to high inflation rate hovering at around 14%.

According to media reports, the number of women with bulging bellies visiting Prasuti Griha (a top maternity hospital in Kathmandu) has risen sharply, and this has been attributed to the almost round-the-clock cut in power, leaving Nepalis with no other means of entertainment except copulation. There is no reason why the G-8 nations cannot bring about a baby boom if they follow in Nepal’s footsteps.

NEA, however, should be prepared to face the government’s ire once the census figures are out in 2011 and it realizes that all its efforts to bring down population growth to replacement level has gone for a toss.

Meanwhile, I have been told that young couples venturing out for candlelight dinners has taken a nosedive, much to the chagrin of restaurant owners. “Why go out and waste money, when you can enjoy romantic evenings everyday in the confines and comforts of your own apartment,” they say.

With load-shedding excepted to continue for at least another four to five years, I recommend restaurant owners to shut down their business and use that space instead to open maternity clinics. Makes perfect sense, right?