Malawi facing population explosion ‘time bomb’ — Teen pregnancy soars

Malawi is said to be sitting on a ticking time bomb  as the population is booming, according to figures contained in the latest Malawi Demographic and Health Survey (MDH) released last week.

Teenage Pregnancy: Depressing statistics

The country’s population is  growing at a rate  of 3.32 percent per annum while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth late  is at 2.9 percent as of last year.

When population growth rate is higher than GDP growth rate, argues development economists, it means GDP per capita, which is a measure of the total output of a country, diminishes considerably.

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said enormous population explosion neutralizes whatever economic progress the country makes.

“The high population is exerting a lot of pressure to our economy,” said Gondwe, urging itizens to slow down in making babies.

“As a country we have made tremendous gains over the years but why the impact is not reflected on our economy, is because the gains have been dissipated by population growth,” said Gondwe.

Authorities are being urged to put   in place measures  to curb the population growth with the fear that the nation will be passing on poverty to the next generation instead on passion on wealth.

It is learnt that teenagers are failing to heed warnings about under-age sex, leading to soaring numbers of unplanned pregnancies contributing to high population growth and child and neonatal dearths.

The MDH survey for 2015/16 shows that more girls aged between 15 and 19 are bearing children and that 29 percent of teenagers had given birth. This figure was four percentage points higher than what was recorded in the last DHS in 2010.

Mission director for USAID Littleton Tazewell made an impassionate plea to various stakeholders to make use of the results of the MDHS to inform policy and programmes for the benefit of Malawians.

“The MDHS shows impressive gains in key areas however Malawi’s population growth rate threatens to reverse these gains. We have improved health of mothers and children, we have reduced the mortality rate for children under 5, there are more women using birth control but unfortunately, population growth is outpacing economic and with a projected 41.2 million population by 2050, this is jeopardising the gains reflected in DHS,” he said.

Tazewell said it was time every stakeholder aggressively engaged youth especially adolescent girls and young women to accelerate the decline of population growth.

Launching the report, Gondwe asked the stakeholders not to just look at the statistics, but the impact the findings could have in informing policies and interventions.

He said: “We need to look at what we could do more and where we are failing. It is not enough to just attend meetings, get documents and throw them away but at the same time it should be emphasised where we are doing well.”

The MDHS is a collection of data at national level which calculates key demographic indicators, particularly fertility and under-5 and adult mortality rates among others.



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Girl Child Ambassador
Girl Child Ambassador
5 years ago

Very sad indeed. The goverment must come at open and do something better to solve out this nasty behavior. Just imagine an under aged girl being impregnated by his own teacher by difile and rape action when it comes at court hearing the whole magistrate chose to acquittal and set him free while court admitting by sending a court order to the hospital to examine in assesing the victim’s age. All these long process carried but at last the same magistrate presiding and hearing the case chose to pass judgement by acquiting. However if this kind of oppressing the poor… Read more »

Elisabeth Ritchie
Elisabeth Ritchie
5 years ago

The photograph accompanying this article undermines the dignity of the young women concerned. They are victims of male exploitation. We know what a pregnant belly looks like. Why is the photograph necessary? It demeans women to present them half dressed for readers to gawp at.

Che Wanimiliyoni
Che Wanimiliyoni
5 years ago

We should blame our culture for this blossoming teenage pregnancies. It is a culture which encourages early marriages and heaps praises on a couples or individuals with a lots and lots of biological children and treats unmarried and biological childless/barren couples with contempt and disdain. The culture uses all sorts of tricks to expose unmarried childless people like replacing the official names with “mai or bambo uje”. If you are known by your name it means you are not married and have no child and you are ridiculed in the society. So it hypocrisy at its best to turn round… Read more »

Steve Mwambe
Steve Mwambe
5 years ago

It is indeed very pathetic to learn such information. Lack of informatim to the targeted group(adolescent) has propagated the scene, a need to do something

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