Malawians have been urged to practice responsible parenthood, amid rise in cases of early pregnancies.
Projects Coordinator for the ecumenical Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), M’theto Lungu, said when parents do not plan their families, the result is big numbers of children.
“Unfortunately, most parents cannot afford to efficiently and adequately raise their children because of cost rise in daily needs and scramble for resources.
It is important therefore that Malawians are made aware that too many people mean strained resources,” he said.
The Council is in the process of upscaling the project to other places, starting with Karonga in the second round of the project from March, where traditional and cultural issues, such as kupimbira, influences issues of rapid population growth. MCC facilitators Rev. Fr. Symon Matumbo and Rev Armstrong Kuthyola-Mwale added that the church must lead in shifting the peoples thinking so that God’s may not be destroyed out of ignorance.
“We cannot stand aside and watch as God’s people are destroyed through rapid population growth. Responsible parenting should be preached so that people can only have the number of children they can afford to take care of, and also at the right time.
” Early marriages and in particular early child bearing is a threat on a girl’s health and life. Cases of fistula and early deaths can best be avoided if the girl child remains in school and avoids sexual engagement till they are of the right age.”
Group Village Headman Kafudzira thanked the MCC for the project which has brought awareness to his people.
“Through the MCC ChurchACT Church Action Group we are working closely together with church leaders, traditional and community leaders, and public stakeholders such as health, education, forestry, community police, courts and others to devise strategies that keep our children in school and encourage parents to take care of their children.
“We are in the process of creating bylaws in our area so that we protect our youth and also ensure we, especially child bearing women, live healthier lives.” There are a lot of young mothers in Malawi, for instance in Nkhotakota where the population NY 2016 was about 300,000, there are mothers aged as low as 14 years old. The number of live births per day at a clinic is 8 against 12 health centres.
Total number of primary schools is 160 against 20 secondary schools, accounting for 61% illiteracy rate.
The ChurchACT project posted in Dwambazi by MCC uses church leaders to spread awareness and advocate for church and community friendly solutions.