Malawian youths can now afford a smile following the revelation by the Malawi government authorities that the long awaited National Youth Policy (NYP) is now at an advanced stage and that it will be released January 2013.
This was revealed by the officials from the Ministry of Youth at a half day review meeting on the Maputo Plan of Action (MPoA) which took place at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
The gathering which brought together Civil Society leaders and delegates from various local youth organisations was aimed at assessing the levels of government, stakeholders and Youth involvement in the implementation of the MPoA in Malawi.
MPoA is a plan which was formulated by African Health Ministers as an enforcement tool to help in improving Reproductive and health issues.
Lilongwe Urban Youth Development Officer in the Ministry of Youth, Peter Pindani while responding to a question from one of the delegates on when should Malawians expect the NYP finalised, said the Ministry is committed on the matter and that the Minister responsible Enock Chihana hinted about two weeks ago that the Youth Policy will be at an advanced stage early next year.
“The Minister (of youth) assured every one that by January 2013, we will be at an advanced stage and that is when it will be decided whether to implement the Policy,” said Pindani.
He said the Minister has been holding meetings with the President and relevant stakeholders on the matter.
Commenting on the same, Youth Empowerment and Civic Education Executive Director Lucky Mbewe expressed concern with the delay by the government in coming up with the final copy of the youth policy saying it is heavily affecting youth programmes in the country.
“Some five years ago we were told the issue is at cabinet level and up to now nothing has materialized,” said Mbewe.
He therefore urged the Youth Ministry to speed up with the implementation of the revised Youth Policy claiming it will “greatly contribute in the fulfillment of the Maputo Action Plan”.
Speaking at the same function, Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) Executive Director Martha Kwataine urged the Media to change their focus on reporting.
He told Malawi journalists to start concentrating writing on health issues particularly on reproductive health in order to help in serving the lives of Malawians who die of preventable deaths rather than focusing on political stories.
Kwataine also urged journalists and her fellow civil society leaders to monitor health programmes so that the government be held accountable at all times.
During the meeting, it was also revealed that inadequate funding towards the health sector is greatly affecting various health programmes.
The government was therefore advised to make sure that 15% of the annual national budget be allocated to the health sector as required by the Abuja declaration.
“We have never had three consecutive years of reaching the 15% set by the Abuja declaration,” said Kwataine.
Meanwhile, delegates at the meeting have called upon all Malawians to work collectively if Malawi is to achieve MPoA.
The MPoA target is 2015 and in Malawi, Youth Empowerment and Civic Education is the organization handed with the responsibility of being the major secretariat for the coalition of the Maputo Plan of Africa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :