Number of children too high – Malawi Veep

Malawi’s Vice President Khumbo Kachali has expressed worry with the high number of children-at an average six-that Malawian families have saying this is straining on the country’s resources.

Speaking during the opening of the National Leaders’ Conference on Family Planning, Population and Development in Lilongwe, Kachali said the country’s fertility rate at 5.7 children per family is “stubbornly high”, unacceptable and worrisome.

“The problem is that when a Malawian family has 5 or 6 children then you think you have accomplished something,” he said.

Malawi's new Vice President Khumbo Kachali
Vice President and Minister of Health Khumbo Kachali opened the conference

Kachali also said that the other problem leading to high fertility rate is the thinking that it is only women and not men who should be involved with family planning.

“This is an old thinking, let us position ourselves with the modern thinking,” he added.

The theme of the national conference is “Sustainably Achieving Vision 2020 and Malawi Growth and Development Strategy Goals Together through family Planning”.

Meanwhile, Malawi has been chosen as the receiptient of this year’s Resolve Award by the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health in recognition of its efforts in investing in reproductive health.

UNFPA Resident Representative Athanase Nzokirishaka said the country will receive the award at a ceremony to be held in Geneva Swirzerland in two weeks time.

Nzokirishaka, however, said yesterday despite the award the country still has a long way to go in tackling reproductive health problems.

Among several challenges he cited the country’s population being one of the fastest growing, total fertility rate at 5.7 still being high despite an increase in contraceptive prevalence rate now at 42 per cent while unmet need for family planning continues to remain high at 26 per cent.

“This is a big problem for our country growing economy because women who have too many pregnancies, too soon and too close fail to participate effectively in development,” Nzokirishaka said.

The country’s maternal mortality ratio now stands at 675 per 100,000 live births after being reduced from 807 per 100,000 births in 2006.

Nzokirishaka said the new figures was an indication that with effort it is possible for Malawi to reduce and end the high numbers of maternal deaths. He requested Kachali to ensure that the revised National Population Policy is approved so that the work to deal with the challenges is guided.

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