19 November 2017
Breaking News
Thursday, 15 September 2016 07:24

Pregnancies among teens on the rise

Written by  Brian Itai

 

Lilongwe, September 15: 50 percent of adolescent girls are falling pregnant before they attain their 19th birthday a scenario experts describe as very pathetic, worrisome and affecting education of the age bracket.

Executive Director for Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) Thokozani Mbendera said in this in an interview on the sidelines of an interface meeting his organisation had together with the visiting members of parliament from Norway and officials from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

He said Malawi needs to act to reverse the trend among especially school going children with current statistics indicate an increase in the prevalence of pregnancies among teens from 26 percent to 29 percent.

“There are a number of reasons why cases of teen pregnancies are increasing some are cultural, and also the rampant self boarding in many schools coupled with poverty has made girls more vulnerable. And this year in particular there is hunger and many households will have resource constraints and we should expect more transactional sex to boom.

“The lack of sex and reproductive health information among the girls has also had a massive negative impact. If we could be empowering our girls with the necessary information they could have been making informed decisions,” said Mbendera.

Currently government policies do not provide for the provision of sexual reproductive health services among school going children but the FPAM boss said it is time the position was reconsidered in view of the current situation.

“We will continue to lobby the ministry of education to soften their stance in their policies on the provision of family planning commodities and services to school going children. Looking at the statistics, more cases of pregnancies are being recorded among this age group and that is a source of huge concern,” he said.

On the visit by the Norwegian partners, Mbendera said Norway being the third largest bilateral donor to Malawi, he believes the visitors have appreciated the challenges being faced and he hopes to use that as a bargaining power for more resources.

Heidi Nordby Lunde, a member of the Norwegian parliament also stressed on the need for an increased access to family planning services as the development of a country directly hinges on its population.

“If the country is to make strides in economic growth in a sustainable way there is need have family planning of some sort whether the authorities like it or not. The ministry of education and health should work closely together in making sure that family planning services are accessible at all levels.

“When 52 percent of the population is not working because they are carrying children then definitely that will hurt the economy,” said Lunde in an interview.

 During their one week-long visit the team is expected to meet with organisations, other implementing partners and politicians to follow up on sexual and reproductive rights including LGBTI rights.

“We have gotten a lot of exciting information and we are impressed with some of the results that Malawi has had over the years but we are also concerned with other challenges like teen age pregnancies, family planning and law making,” she said.

Features

'Opposition is not just about ranting'

'Opposition is not just about ranting'

The statement by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera made in response to the address that His Excellency, President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika made during the opening of the occasion of opening the 47th Session of Parliament cannot go without comment. From the out...