Minister of Health and Population, Atupele Muluzi on Wednesday said teenage pregnancy remains a challenge in the country as it has increased from 26 per cent in 2010 to 29 per cent in 2016.
He said this in Lilongwe during Private Sector Engagement breakfast organized under the theme “Engage, Excite and Empower”.
“The increase in teenage pregnancy leads to school dropouts and other adverse effects such as child marriages. This dropout rate negatively affects the overall completion rate of secondary school for young person who are extremely low at eight per cent,” Muluzi observed.
The Minister disclosed that Youth Friendly Health Services Strategy (YFHS) has built in mechanism to engage youth whilst they are young and shape them into productive young adults.
He said that, “The mechanism presents a model for tailoring information in an age-appropriate way that will increase knowledge and improved awareness; it highlights interventions that will interest and attract young people to access services from various points.
It strives to engage communities on the benefits of YFHS activities beyond access to contraceptives but skills development that provide young people with potential livelihoods that combat idleness.”
Malawi Mission Director for United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Lit Tazewell said health was a critical determinant of how well and far a young person could develop.
Tazewell noted that, “Young people who are under-nourished and who do not have a personal understanding of their sexual and reproductive health are unlikely to succeed in education and economically.
We must therefore take this time together to drill down and seek innovative, multi-sectoral approaches to providing youth with services that empower them (youths) to manage their own health.”
Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS) cover the life journey of young people aged 10-24 years, leading to their eventual independence and empowerment. YFHS ensure that boys and girls are protected from HIV/STIs and access ART.