Poverty compromising family planning in Malawi

Malawi Health Equity Network has said poverty is forcing many women in the country to fail to adopt family planning methods as they are compelled to seek consent from their husbands who sometimes are against the idea.

The Director of Malawi Health Equity Network, Martha Kwataine said in an interview that it is difficult for many women who are economically poor to make decisions affecting their lives without the consent of their husbands whom they depend on.

“Even though the life of the woman is at risk, she cannot employ family planning method without the approval of her husband because she knows on her own she cannot survive,” said Kwataine.

Kwataine: Blame it on poverty

Kwataine therefore pleaded with the authorities to economically empower women and to lift them up in education so that they are economically independent.

One of the concerned women, Iada Mmora of Batoni village, Traditional Authority Sitola in Machinga district said women usually have no say when it comes to acquiring family planning methods as men always have a final say pertaining to the issue.

“A lot of women, especially us who come from rural areas, are being victimized when it comes to acquiring family planning methods because of the misconception that men have. Men always think that when we ask them that we should adopt a family planning method, they believe that we want to stop bearing children even though doing so sometimes is for our own good health,” bemoaned Mmora.

Family planning has been identified as the key method of reducing maternal death, speeding up economic development and improving the overall status of women and children in Africa.

Malawi has a high unmet need of women who would like to use family planning methods but are unable to do so because of the misconception that men have.

The most popular family planning methods, according to the Malawi Demographic and Health Survey of 2010 are injectable at 25.8 percent followed by tubal ligation at 9.7 percent and then pills at 2.5 percent.

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