Malawi President Joyce Banda has emphasized the need to educate the girl child if the fight against maternal death is to be won.
The President was speaking on Wednesday at her official residence in Lilongwe during an audience that she had with the national Chiefs steering committee on Presidential initiative on maternal health and safe motherhood.
Banda re-iterated her commitment to eradicate deaths that occur during birth but expressed worry on the lack of parents’ commitments to sending the girl –child to school.
The President said if girls are not educated enough they would easily be pre to men who would take advantage of their situation and marry them at a tender age thereby increasing the risk of death during pregnant delivery, adding that because the women do not know anything concerning maternal.
“I am always worried when I see young girls failing to go school because of fees which in most cases is too small. Most of these girls can’t go to school because of K5,000 and many of us here in town spend more than that in a day, yet we fail to pick one or two children and pay their school fees.” observed the President.
The President urged some members of her cabinet to set the example by identifying girls within their communities and support them with their education needs.
“Imagine if all of us had picked one or two girls and support their education, where would we be in terms of education for our children?”Banda asked.
President Banda disclosed that she is currently paying school fees for over two thousand girl-children country wide.
In his remarks, the committee’s chairperson, Chief Kwataine of Ntcheu said his committee, which comprises of ten chiefs from across the country will do whatever it can to help in achieving the objectives of the project.
“We wish to assure you, your Excellency that we are going to run (non-stop) to make sure that this project achieves its objectives. You have supported us before and we know with your continued support this project can never fail.” Kwataine said.
Chief Kwataine however, echoed on what the President said that the battle on maternal death cannot be won if the girl child is not educated.
“We want to establish benchmarks so that at the end of two years we should be able to stand tall and say here is what we have achieved. We will help to put in by-laws that will see parents punished if their children are not sent to school.” Kwataine said.
Other members of the committee are; Senior Chief Chapananga from Chikhwawa, T/A’s Mkanda of Mchinji and Khonsolo of Mzimba respectively. These are all male chiefs. The female chiefs are Senior chief Mkanda of Mulanje and the following T/A’s: Chitera-Chiradzulu,Thomas-Thyolo,Nyambi-Mangochi, Kulunda-Salima and Malengamzona from Nkhata-bayFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :