Malawi Govt launches family planning programmes

Government on Tuesday launched two large scale investments in family planning programmes namely the Malawi family planning and the Strengthening Public Private Partnership (PPP) for reproductive health programmes.

The two programmes which seek to ensure that access to contraceptive services tremendously improve lives of Malawians by focusing on providing long-acting and permanent methods of contraceptive to individuals and couples, particularly women and young people living in the hard-to-reach rural areas across the country will be implemented by the Population International (PSI) and Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM).

Speaking in Lilongwe when she officially launched the two programmes, Minister of Health Catherine Gotani Hara said government is committed to ensuring that people’s welfare is taken care of.

“The current government is committed to ensuring that people live a better life as evidenced by the commitment that government has put in maternal health.

Children by choice: Family planning
Children by choice: Family planning

“Family planning remains a priority to government as well as the health sector. If not checked, it will exert pressure on the limited resources the country has,” explained Hara.

She added: “I’m happy that I have also seen my fellow Members of Parliament present here. Let me urge you that when you are campaigning for people to vote for you as MPs in the coming general elections, you should also strive to campaign for the use of family planning methods.

“We should always target the youth as they are better placed to know about these issues before they start producing children, there should be no children without parenthood.”

Speaking earlier, Department for International Development (DfID) Country Representative Sarah Sanyahumbi stressed the need of having smaller families as this will lead to improved levels of health and education.

“I have spoken to many women during my visits around Malawi and I know how deeply Malawians care for their children.

“Many of them have said that to do so, they need to have small-sized families, as this can lead to improved levels of health and education which is good for the country’s development,” she said.

The Family Planning Programme has been funded by the UK Government through the DFID to the tune of K9.8 billion and it will be implemented by BLM. This will strive that people have children by choice not by chance.

The PPP for reproductive health programme has been funded by the Government of Federal Republic of Germany through KFW to the tune of K10.7 billion. The programme will be implemented by the Population Services International (PSI) Malawi and other partners for four years.

It will improve knowledge and acceptance of modern family planning methods and improve access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services using a right-based and gender sensitive approach. In addition, USAID will also provide financial support of at least K 2.6 billion for family planning materials.

These two programmes will increase Malawi’s contraceptive prevalence rate by 3.7 per cent and prevent 1.2 million early pregnancies, 164, 000 unsafe abortions and 2,700 maternal deaths.

In Malawi, family planning methods were first introduced in early 1960s before being banned and later were re-introduced in the 1980s.

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