Phiri to Chair Health Caucus of Southern and Eastern Africa Parliament
Thyolo Central legislator Ben Phiri has been elected chairperson for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Southern and Eastern African Parliamentary caucus, which he says is a blessing to Malawi in the health sector.
Phiri who was elected in Kigali, Rwanda, at a meeting that run from 17th to 20th July, says Malawi has not been doing well in maternal health, climate change and population, for example, hence will gain from the position as it will be a training ground with financial resources pooled in as the secretariat during his tenure.
“The rest of the region is not making progress, but Malawi is behind in many areas. We have issues to do with training of health workers that are also inadequate, climate change challenges and increasing population growth,” he says.
Phiri adds that sexual reproductive health rights issues are an example that if committed onto, can promote good health in the country.
Health analyst Dorothy Ngoma says it takes commitment and energy to carry out this kind of role, and hopes Phiri understands health and health-related challenges to better represent the country in the causes.
Ngoma further says that Malawi has not made significant progress in improving the health sector, and urges the legislator to understand and consult more on the challenges faced by the country.
“We all have seen how serious issues to do with maternal health are in this country. Some of us have been carrying out activism roles to ensure that maternal and neonatal deaths decrease. These are issues that require serious understanding and commitment. Phiri should ensure that Malawi benefits more,” she adds.
The Southern and Eastern Africa 19 member-country parliamentary caucus will focus on several areas, among others expanding access to healthcare, reducing infant and maternal mortality rates, managing population growth and promoting sustainable development.