Health authorities in Rumphi have expressed dissatisfaction with the upward trend of teenage pregnancies which they say if left unchecked would lead to high maternal mortality rate in the district.
Rumphi District Hospital Safe Motherhood Coordinator, Gracious Mtonga expressed the sentiments on the sidelines of an interface meeting between young people and duty bearers on governance of health for sexual and reproductive health services.
Mtonga said records from the hospital indicate that from the period July to September, 2019, the hospital has registered 332 teenage pregnancies. He said the figures are alarming.
“We have to admit that the figures shown here are on the higher side compared to the population of the district and these figures are calling for urgent responses to the existing problems.
“With the current trend, it shows that we have done little to prepare a good future for the next generation, therefore, we do not need to wait anymore but bang our heads together and find the lasting solution,” Mtonga said.
Rumphi District Health Office Youth Friendly Health Services Coordinator, Tiyankhulenji Nyasulu suggests that lack of youth-friendly health services structure at the facility has contributed to the low uptake of the sexual reproductive health services among the youth, hence the trend.
“The absence of these youth-friendly health services structures has been a challenge for years now and many young people have resorted to shun the services, making them vulnerable to teenage pregnancies,” Nyasulu said.
Life Concern Organisation Executive Director, Peter Gondwe said his organisation would scale-up awareness campaigns on the importance of accessing sexual and reproductive health services among the youth, especially girls in the district.
“When we look at the data on teenage pregnancies this year, it seems we have reached the worst, this tells us that we should stop doing business as usual and focus on interventions that can reduce the vice otherwise our girls are impregnated every day.
As an organisation, we will continue creating awareness and engaging with parents to improve their parental care and enhance access to SRH services among girls because currently, there is low uptake of such services among girls,” Gondwe explained.
Rumphi District Council Chairperson, Councilor Richard Mazire Chibambo pledged the council’s commitment to construct a youth-friendly health services structure at Rumphi District Hospital in 2020/2021 fiscal year.
“We have to acknowledge that our girls suffer a lot based on the information we have seen here, nonetheless as a council, we will include construction of the structure in our fiscal plans.
“We will also use any other funding opportunities that might come our way either from well-wishers or other stakeholders to start the construction works of the youth-friendly health services structure as soon as possible,” Chibambo said.
The interface meeting organised by Life Concern Organisation is among the activities the organisation is implementing in its Governance for Health Investment Project in Nkhamanga and Mayembe Wards in Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe in Rumphi.
The project is being implemented with financial support from Tilitonse Foundation through Sexual and Reproductive Health Africa Trust (SAT).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :