HREP Calls for More Investment in SRH Amid Increased Teen Pregnancies

Matemba Matemba - pic by Christopher Sande

A health rights organisation, Health and Rights Education Program (HREP) has complained that teen pregnancies, teen school dropout, increased dependents and orphans continue to plague Malawi.

HREP executive director Maziko Matemba says with the rising population the country needs to invest more in reproductive and maternal and newborn health.

"Malawi's high fertility rate is a contributor to rapid population growth. High rates of unplanned and missed pregnancies are being recorded especially among the youths.

“In addition, more than one quarter of married women of reproductive age have unmet need for family planning that could help them better time and space their pregnancies," said Matemba, adding that the ideal budget towards sexual reproductive health is K12.7 billion.

He added that the government needs to introduce and support innovative health financing strategies as recommended in Malawi Health Financing strategy 2023-2030 with more domestic resource mobilization for sustainability.

“Furthermore, Government policy needs to incorporate the increased engagement of the private sector and non-state actors which includes CSOs and Youth for better alignment and mobilization of health sector resources and utilization,” said Matemba.

Meanwhile HREP, PAI and Global Financing facility have launched a media awards programme for outstanding case studies and articles on maternal, child and adolescent health and nutrition in Malawi.

Blantyre Press Club president, Blessings Kanache has since encouraged journalists to take advantage of the awards to write human interest stories in an effort to improve people' living standards.

The arrangement is that entries will be evaluated by a multi stakeholders review panel including communications and media professionals, experts in reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health and nutrition and representatives from civil society organizations.

Reviewers will consider impact, relevance, effectiveness, innovation and quality. Winners will be announced in December this year.

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