Malawi promises to raise contraceptive prevalence rate to 60% – VP

Malawi Government says it wants to use family planning as a strategy to achieve its development goals and has declared its commitment to raise Malawi’s Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) to 60% by 2020 with a targeted increase in young people aged 15 to 24 years.

The remarks were made Wednesday by the Vice President Khumbo Kachali who is also Minister of Health at the London Family Planning Summit.

He told delegates that the Malawi Government does realise that family planning plays a very important role in stabilising population growth, which contributes to the improved health of its citizens, promotes economic growth and development which ultimately improves quality of life of women and girls.

Kachale speaking at the London Summit. -Photo by Sam Makaka/ Malawi News Agency

“The Government of Malawi wishes to embrace family planning as a strategy to achieve its development goals and hereby declares its commitment to raise Malawi’s Contraceptive Prevalence Rate to 60% by 2020 with a focused increase in those aged 15 to 24 years,” declared Kachali.

Plan of action

To achieve these objectives, the Vice President said, Government will have to approve a National Population Policy before the end of this year, raise the legal age of marriage and strengthen institutional arrangements to deliver effective policy leadership for population and family planning. He said this means elevation of the population department in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development and the Reproductive Health Unit in the Ministry of Health to full Departments.

He, however, accepted that despite Government’s good plans, without enough resources, the plans cannot be realised.

“However, in spite of our best efforts as reflected above, we acknowledge that we still have some funding shortfalls. It is in this regard that I wish to solicit for funding support from our partners to bridge the gaps,” the Vice President appealed.

He disclosed that in the programme development and service delivery front, Malawi would among other interventions, increase community access to all family planning methods through community structures, and cited examples which included the creation of the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood, the establishment of the Chiefs Committee on Safe Motherhood chaired by Traditional Authority Kwataine from Ntcheu himself an activist in this area.

Kachali also touched on early parenthood saying: “We will also ensure that there is no parenthood before adulthood,” he concluded.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Speaking in closing, Bill and Melinda Gates expressed satisfaction that the summit had been able to raise more money than targeted 4.3 billion dollars by 0.3 billion dollars.

“We are happy that the summit has raised more than what we targeted. However the main task begins now to walk the talk. It will mean nothing to make so many pledges but without fulfilling them,” Bill Gates pleaded.

The summit was organised by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at sourcing funds for family planning in developing countries from donor partners and the developing nations themselves.

Lack of information

Speaking to the press before the summit opened, the Veep said that most Malawi women die because they lack information on family planning and expressed the hope that with the London Summit.

He confirmed that the Malawi Government has a strong political will on issues of safe motherhood in order to reduce maternal deaths and also that young women must have children by choice and not by chance.

Kachali added that family planning is vital not only for quality lives of women and children but also helps government plan effectively as it is able to predict how many people will be in a given time.

And speaking in a pre recorded video clip broadcasted at the summit by the organisers, President Joyce Banda, said she is ashamed that Malawi is the second worst country in Africa on maternal mortality after Sierra Leone which was ravaged by war.

She promised to work tirelessly to reduce the figures.

Kachale presenting a Malawi case at the London Summit.-Photo by Sam Makaka/ Malawi News Agency

Bill and Melinda Gates with Andrew Mitchell, the UK development secretary.-Photo by Sam Makaka/ Malawi News Agency

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