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Friday, 28 July 2017 10:37

Malawi’s rapid population growth a concern - Muluzi

Written by  Evance Chisiano


Muluzi: There is need for collaboration - File Photo

Machinga, July 28, 2017:  Malawi’s rapid population growth is a socio-economic development concern as it puts pressure on the national resources.

Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi said this on Thursday during this year’s World Population Day commemorations under the theme ‘Family Planning Empowers Development’ as the district registered 6.6 fertility rate against the national rate of 4.4, a contributing factor to rapid population growth.

“This is wearisome because the fertility rate is connected to low literacy level as children abandon school and become young parents.

“Families, chiefs and development partners need to collaborate to regulate the population growth through family planning. Family planning and reproductive health issues are social- cultural issues,” said Muluzi, at Michongwe Primary School at Ntaja in the district.

Muluzi emphasized the need to educate girls and boys so that they understand issues to do with family planning and reproductive health at an early stage.

In his remarks the Yao Paramount Chief Kawinga asked government to come up with laws that would regulate family sizes.

“There should also be speed limit as far as issues of family sizes are concerned as is the case with traffic regulations which limit speed of vehicles on the roads,” said Kawinga.

Machinga District Council Chair, Margret Uladi said the fertility rate of the district is the highest of the 28 districts.

She said 46 of the 100 women of child bearing age were on family planning against six out of the 100 on long term contraceptives in the district.

Uladi said 23 percent of the district population of 647,401 people is of child bearing age and almost 32, 370 women are expected to deliver this year. This implies that delivery rate in Machinga is 60 babies per day.

UNFPA Deputy Country Representative, Dr. Rogaia Abdelrahim expressed concern over the loss of life among girls through complications that result from child bearing thereby denying them their potential of becoming productive adults.

To develop the nation, she said, there is need to give them an opportunity to complete their education and acquire skills to develop themselves.  

Abdelrahim said the United Nations and UNFPA are committed to developing Malawi through family planning and reproductive health interventions.

District Health Education Officer, Clifton Ngozo said Machinga has the highest fertility rate because of low adoption of contraceptives while another larger proportion adopts short term contraceptives.

Ngozo who is also spokesperson for Machinga District Health Office said early child bearing and unstable marriages are contributing factors to such higher fertility rates.

Child bearing in Machinga starts as early as 13 years.