FPAM report shows significant progress in Malawi’s fulfillment of sexual and reproductive heath rights

Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) says Malawi is a making a significant progress in the fulfillment of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) despite featuring poorly on the SRHR indicators in Africa.

Kachale: Government is taking stringent measures to address challenges in the SRHR sector-Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
A cross-section of health and legal experts that attended the dissemination workshop of the desk review report in Lilongwe–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Malera presenting findings of the report  -Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Participants to the desk review report dissemination -Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

However, the country continues to shy on the fight against maternal mortaliy as the number of women dying while giving birth remains high at over 439 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, making it among the highest levels in the world.

FPAM makes this revelation in its desk review, legal and policy analysis in Malawi – Full Implementation of the 2016-2030 Maputo Plan of Action: Advocacy for Safe Abortion Legislation.

The key findings of the review were presented at the Capital Hotel in Lilongwe where the Director of Reproductive Health in the Ministry of Health and Population, Fanny Kachale, appealed to various stakeholders to take appropriate measures to protect the reproductive rights of women and girls in the country.

Kachale said Malawi has already started undertaking necessary legislative reforms towards domesticating the relevant provisions, including the area of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights to address access to family planning services.

 “We have made progress in increasing our modern contraceptive prevalence (mCPR). Currently, the mCPR – which means uptake of family planning – for all women is estimated at 48.3 percent. However, we could do better as a country,” she said.

However, Kachale expressed happiness that the total fertility rate has steadily decreased from 5.7 in 2010 to 4.4 at the moment.

She also stated that the total demand for family planning for married people is at 78 percent, which is satisfied, whereas the demand for family planning for sexually active unmarried people stands at 84 percent, with only 53 percent of the demand being satisfied.

“Government is aware that there is still high unmet need for family planning around 19 percent for all women and even much higher among the adolescents around 22 percent. In addition, there are 54.2 percent of unintended pregnancies among women in Malawi.

“Therefore, the government continues to engage various stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and the private sector, to expand access to SRHR services, including contraceptive services,” said Kachale.

Legal expert and women’s rights activist Grace Malera, who compiled the report together with Dr. Edgar Kuchingale, urged government and FPAM to closely work together with the media in disseminating messages on sexual and reproductive health rights.

Malera said the media is key in the successful implementation of any policy; hence, the need for the concerned stakeholders to include journalists in their activities.

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