Malawi couples can determine sex of baby– UNFPA official

A United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) official says it is possible for couples who have sex preferences to determine whether to have a baby boy or baby girl.

Thomas Munthali, UNFPA Programmes Manager for Population and Development was speaking Friday in Dedza during a public lecture on population and development which was attended by chiefs and district executive committee (DEC) members.

During the lecture, one of the participants identified sex preference as one of the factors that is contributing to rapid population growth.

The participant said some families who give birth to children of a same sex continue bearing children with the hope of bearing a child of a different sex.

Couples can decide

In response, Munthali said it is possible for couples to decide on the sex of a child they want.

He, however, could not elaborate on what they should do to determine on the sex of the child saying medical personnel are better placed to elaborate.

“Couples who have sex preferences should seek medical guidance. There are certain methods that can be followed to increase the probability of having a male child or a female one. However, the methods are not a guarantee,” he said.

Munthali advised that couples should just decide on the number of children to have unlike focusing on their sex.

He however, urged the participants to encourage girl education saying women who went to school can not be easily manipulated by their husbands to have more children than they can afford to care.

On his part, Benjamin Kanike, lecturer on Demography in the Department of Population Studies at Chancellor College described the tendency of bearing many children as old fashioned.

He said having many children was fashionable in the past when families wanted to replace babies who died because there were no social services such as health.

“In the past, there were no medical services and children were dying because they could not receive medical care. This was forcing families to bear many children as a safety net against high infant mortality rates,” he said.

He said these days there is no proper excuse for bearing many children because there is better medical services which give children a high chance of surviving.

The public lecture was organized by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development in collaboration with Chancellor College’s Department of Population Studies with funding from UNFPA.

According to the organizers, Dedza was chosen for the public lecture because of its staggering fertility rate which stands at 5.8 percent against the national rate of 5.7 percent.

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