Malawi Govt intensifies use of long acting permanent family planning methods

Government through the Ministry of Health has intensified the use of long acting permanent methods of family planning as one way of reducing the high fertility rate in the country.

Director of Reproductive Health in the Ministry of Health, Fannie Kachale made the disclosure during a consultative meeting on government’s responses and priorities on the Maputo Action Plan in Lilongwe.

Kachale said Maputo Action Plan strategies state that family planning should be repositioned as a key strategy for the country to attain its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the end of 2015 and it is for this reason that government has embarked on the intensive use of long term family planning methods.

Kachale explained that government has also adopted long acting permanent methods because they are less expensive compared to some family planning methods that require daily, monthly or yearly use.

Family planning can help Malawi advance towards its aspiration for a productive and healthy population.

Family planning can help Malawi advance towards its aspiration for a productive and healthy population.

“We have opted for long term permanent methods because they will help government save a lot of money as these methods can take up to five years, unlike the other family planning methods that have to be administered on daily or monthly basis.

“For example the Norplant takes five years to expire, an Implanon takes three years, the Loop takes five to 10 years. So, we have seen that this could really be one of the ways of ensuring safe motherhood and reduce maternal mortality,” she said

She however clarified that, long acting permanent family planning methods will not substitute the other family planning methods saying the other methods will still be available.

According to Kachale 42 per cent of women in the country are using family planning methods, which, she says, is an increase from the 24 per cent registered in 2008.

“Currently, 42 women out of 100 are receiving family planning methods. We want to reach the average of 60 women per 100 so that we prevent maternal deaths and reduce the high fertility rate in the country,” she said

Among other responses to the Maputo Action Plan, government launched the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood last year and intensified sexual reproductive health, family planning, cervical cancer services in its hospitals and health centres.

The Maputo Action Plan was adopted by the special session of African Union Conference of Ministers of Health in Maputo, Mozambique in 2006 to tackle issues of health in relation to the Millennium Development Goals and will phase out in 2015.

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