Traditional leaders in the northern region of Malawi have vowed unconditionally abandon cultural and traditional practices that promote early marriages among young girls no matter cultural values the practices may have on their way of life.
Traditional practices like Kupimbira, a cultural practice where parents arrange marriages for their young girls with elder men in order to get money through dowry without the knowledge of the girl has largely been cited as a contributing factor towards increasing number of maternal related deaths among young girls in the region.
Addressing over 500 traditional leaders who gathered for a meeting on safe motherhood, chairperson of the Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood and Maternal Health Senior Chief Kwataine appealed to the chiefs to be vigilant and never consent to early marriages if the number of maternal death among youth girls in the region is to be reduced.
Kwataine also asked the chiefs to ensure that no woman is delivered by traditional birth attendants in the villages.
“It is the role of us chiefs to make sure that our pregnant women are going to the hospitals in good time, and ensure that we don’t endanger their lives when they are ready to give birth,” said Kwataine.
In response the traditional leaders said they are ready to abandon all the traditional practices and beliefs that promote maternal death saying they are planning to form committees that will help in spread messages on the importance of safe motherhood.
“We are ready to make sure our girls don’t fall prey to early marriages, we want them to be very educated and contribute to the development of Malawi,” said one chief.
The chiefs from the areas of Traditional Authorities Mwenemisuku, Kameme, Mwirang’ombe and Mwasambo were among those who attended the meeting.
In a related development, President Joyce Banda is expected to officially open the Chilumba waiting home constructed by Farmers World in Karonga.