Malawi Pres. Banda launches results of integra sexual, reproductive health in London

Malawian President Joyce Banda has launched the results of a five-year research by the Integra Project in the area of sexual and reproductive health and HIV at the British House of Parliament, Westminster, London.

Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and former Executive Director of UNAIDS, said:  “Provision of integrated services for sexual and reproductive health and rights can be vital for reducing transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and reducing unintended pregnancies.”

President Banda in her launch speech told invited guests that issues relating to sexual and reproductive health are very close to her heart as they have great impact on the livelihood of the poor.

“The importance of this function cannot be overemphasized. It makes all of us feel proud as we get the realities of providing sexual and reproductive health and HIV services using the evidence generated by this important research.”

The President, flanked by Pamela Nash MP, Chair of the All- Party Parliamentary Group, United Kingdom (R) and First Gentleman and Retired Chief Justice Richard Banda, SC

The President, flanked by Pamela Nash MP, Chair of the All-
Party Parliamentary Group, United Kingdom (R) and First Gentleman and
Retired Chief Justice Richard Banda, SC

She said reputable organisation  carried the whole process giving research credibility, confidence and reliability of the findings , saying she was sure  “governments, non – governmental organizations, the academia, policy makers, individuals and more importantly the general public will find the research very useful. Malawi will definitely benefit from this piece of research work”.

The President observed that it has been reported that the research found out that   integration of sexual and reproductive health and HIV, there is an increase in the variety of services provided and taken up by clients at specific facilities in Kenya, Malawi and Swaziland.

She said Malawi has put up strategies to increase access to Sexual and Reproductive Health services in order to make progress towards several Millennium Development Goals targets by 2015.

“My Government has put great emphasis on an all -sector involvement policy in addressing issues of sexual and reproductive health and we have a very active civil society that is helping government to address such issues. A very good example is the Family Planning Association of Malawi, a Member Association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

“Although they do not cover the whole country, they have made significant gains in the areas of adolescents and young people sexual and reproductive health and rights, advocacy for improved sexual and reproductive health.

“More impact has been registered in HIV and AIDS programmes for young people living with HIV, sex workers and other marginalized groups, prevention of unsafe abortions through community engagement and education, and more importantly expansion of access to services through its youth friendly health facilities, mobile clinics, community based distribution of contraceptives, peer education and involvement of traditional chiefs and counsellors”.

President Banda said that in recognition of the need to improve maternal health, she launched the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood in order to complement the efforts of the Ministry of Health in resource mobilization, increased training of Community Midwives and strengthening community mobilization through working with chiefs.

According to the President, the African Union (AU) reported recently that Malawi has moved Maternal Mortality Ratio from 675 per 100, 000 live births as of 2010 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey to 470 per 100,000 live birth last year.

“I would like to thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which supported this research work financially. I am also happy that Mrs. Melinda Gates was able to see some of the practical work on the ground and interacted with young people including those living with HIV during her visit to Malawi in 2012. Malawi and I believe Swaziland and Kenya are equally thankful for this support,” she said.

“Let me also thank the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Population Council and the International Planned Parenthood Federation for successfully conducting this research work. Your efforts are highly appreciated. I wish to acknowledge the British Government for hosting this meeting. My delegation and I appreciate the hospitality accorded to us,” Banda concluded

Mathias Chatuluka, Executive Director of Family Planning Asscoaition of Malawi (FPAM) also spoke about his organization’s involvement in the Integra Initiative.

Malawi Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume and other invited guests listen to the President's speech.

Malawi Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume and
other invited guests listen to the President’s speech.

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