By Monalisa Nyirenda
Mzimba, August 17, Mana: Plan International Malawi has embarked on Improving Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS) in Mzimba District.
Speaking recently when he presented the project to M’mbelwa District Council Executive Committee, Plan International Malawi Regional Project Manager for North, Chakufwa Munthali said the project seeks to improve sexual reproductive health and well-being of adolescent and youths in the district.
“Our study has revealed that the age group of 10 to 24 years are sexually active, a situation which leads to an increase in teenage pregnancies and early marriages.
This is why we are urging the youth to access YFHS such as condoms and other contraceptives for females to reduce teenage pregnancies and high school dropout rate among girls, “said Munthali.
He added that the project gears at imparting the right sexual reproduce related information and knowledge to the targeted age groups through different approaches including engaging parents and guardians.
“Culturally, parents do not discuss sexual reproductive issues with their children as they consider it to be a taboo and because of this, children acquire sexual information from their peers and other sources and in often cases end up being misled,” he said.
Chairperson for Mzimba Youth Net Work, Moses Nkhana attributed the increase in teenage pregnancies in the district to rising numbers of child-headed families in the district.
“Many children stay alone because their parents left for South Africa, as a result, a number of them engage in immoral and risky behaviors for survival,” he said.
Nkhana expressed that the project would go a long way in addressing some of the factors that fuel and promote irresponsible sexual indulgence among the youth.
With funding from Plan Germany National Office and Plan Germany Foundation to the tune of about K416 Million, the three-year project will be co-implemented by Tovwirane Organization and Evangelical Association of Malawi in the areas of Traditional Authorities Chindi and Kampingo Sibande.