Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM) has bemoaned the effect of conservative and religious beliefs that make sex-talk before marriage as a complete taboo, arguing such taboos will continue to hold back future generations.
BLM has since pledged to offer free family planning to young people of the age of 24 in all its 31 clinics during all our operational days as part of its commitment to serving young people and as part of commemorations for World Contraception Day (WCD) which falls on 26th September each year.
BLM Country Director, Nicky Matthews disclosed that the free family planning counseling and services will also be extended to the Mother’s Day that falls on 14th October.
“I have seen so many young women’s lives and hopes for the future shattered because they didn’t know about contraception or where to get it. Yet it is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to transform lives,” said Matthews.
Matthews said most young people face challenges in accessing needed information about sex, and that unmarried teenagers are often excluded from receiving information and sexual health services as they are regarded not to be sexually active.
“It is a challenge Banja La Mtsogolo believes we must meet to prevent the cycle of ill health, poverty and even death from early pregnancy, enabling girls to finish their education, focus on their goals and aspirations and improve opportunities for future generations,” he said.
BLM has since called on local health authorities and the government to do more to educate young women and girls on the importance of contraception and how to access the best method for them.
Pregnancy-related deaths are the leading cause of mortality for young women, whose bodies are often not physically ready for childbirth, with up to 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 giving birth every year around the world.
Sexually transmitted infections also disproportionately affect young people globally with 15 to 24-year-olds around the world making up 25% of the sexually active population but nearly 50% of all newly acquired sexually transmitted infections.
Today, 88% of adolescents live in developing countries like Malawi – the very places where the risk associated with pregnancy and childbirth is highest, and these numbers are only set to rise.
By 2020, Marie Stopes International, a global Family Planning organization to which BLM is a senior partner, estimates that there will be 258 million women of reproductive age living in sub-Saharan Africa; compared to 193 million in 2010, making it the largest cohort of reproductive age women the continent has ever seen.
Every year 70,000 young women in developing countries die in pregnancy or childbirth, but if adolescent girls had access and knowledge about different methods of contraception over 70% of these deaths could be prevented.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :