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Saturday, 21 February 2015 16:02

JCM, Parliamentary Health Committee upbeat about family planning progress

Written by  Mphatso Nkuonera

Lilongwe, February 21: Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM) and WomenCaucus of Parliament have highly commended the Parliamentary Health Committee for taking the lead in supporting NGOs on the demand for national family planning consideration. 

JCM a Faith Based Organisation jointly organized a forum for the stakeholders, NGOs , Parliamentary Heath Committee (PHC), Ministry of Finance, Economic Planniong and Development and Ministry of Health to share progress on family planning and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).

Speaking on Friday at Bingu International Conference Center, Honourable Julian Lunguzi, Dedza East Parliamentarian who chairs the PHC said various forums have assisted in promoting family planning and SRHR.

She said, “We are amused with the positive direction family planning matters are taking We are proud to note that our efforts have borne positivity. We call for sizeable families as you all know that small families are manageable and in turn give room to socio-economic development”.

Lunguzi delivers her speech =- Pic by Abel Ikiloni

Lunguzi then appealed to stakeholders, NGOs and concerned line ministries to take collective attention on family planning adding that it was encouraging to have Ministry of Finance and Health at the forum to get words from the horse’s mouth.

“It is encouraging indeed to recognize the presence of representatives from the duo ministries of Health and Finance,Economic Planning and Development to get a word direct from us, this indicates how seriously dedicated you are on family planning issues.

She added that family planning should be taken to the youth who are sexually active and consequently have higher fertility rates compared to women in their fourties.

“Youth are 32% of our population, from 10 to 24 years regardless of marital, social or economic status, they need Youth Friendly Health Services to be drilled on family planning as you know these ages are very active sexually, am sure we can combat population boom” added she.

Adding her weight on the matter Dr Jessie Kabwila, MP,  called for immediate provision of all family planning methods to the flood victim camps especially in the Southern .

“May I ask the gathering and its secretariat to consider a quick appraisal of the situation in the camps on matters of sexuality and family planning.  How safe are our friends? Let me appeal to the concerned ministry here in present to enhance a consistent supply of family planning, otherwise the situation can bear us sad results” said Kabwila.

The meeting centered among other objectives, on sharing of family planning and reproductive health financial status in Malawi and progress on the parliamentarians commitments made at the Network of African Parliamentary of Committee of Health (NEAPACOH) held in Kampala September 2014.

Making presentation on what transpired in the Ugandan conference NEAPACOH, Martha Lunji , MP, also in the legal committee, said family planning issues were a serious business, adding the increase in the funding allocation particularly on family planning was paramount to yield positive results.

“It’s excellent to notice that special funding allocation for family planning is increasing. Let me therefore ask the ministries concerned to make sure that the whole funding allocation of K60 million to be spent by June 30, in 2014/2015 financial year to secure contraceptives highly required” said Lunji.

Speaking for JCM, Family Planning Champion, Brenda Sulamoyo, said the organisation was looking forward to MPs taking the matter to parliament to consider it nationally important.

“We want to reduce fertility rate, and control population size, we felt this meeting was very important, hence we engaged our legislators to help us lobbying for family planning otherwise Malawi is heading for population boom,” she said.

The call for a mandatory family planning by Jesus Cares Ministries comes at a time when parliament has just recently passed a long waited Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations bill, that has pushed marriage age from 16 to 18 years.


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