Mangochi, African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) Health Africa is implementing a project, Standup for the Adolescent, aimed at reducing teenage pregnancies and child marriages through Chimwala and Lulanga health centres in Mangochi.
AMREF Health Africa is funding the implementation of the project to the tune of 1m Euros (approximately K840 million) and it will run for the next five years according to the Foundation’s Project Officer, Charlene Chisema.
She told Mana Sunday that the Standup for the Adolescent was a response to a research which revealed that nearly half of girls in Mangochi marry too early while 18 � 25 per cent of the girls drop out of school due to pregnancies.
Chisema added that it was also revealed that Malawi’s early sexual encounter continued to persist with 20.3 percent of boys and 5.3 percent of girls having sex by the age of 10.
The biggest challenge is lack of youth friendly heath services where adolescent boys and girls can access family planning, sexual and reproductive health services and the result is increased teen pregnancies and early marriages, the Project Officer pointed out.
We are going to conduct interface meetings targeting modification of harmful cultural practices such as Kusasa fumbi and kutomela, among others, she added.
Mangochi District Commissioner Reverend Moses Chimphepo told a full council meeting that there was need for organizations fighting early pregnancies and teenage marriage to spread even by targeting hard � to � reach areas.
He said the council’s role was to ensure that all projects undertaken by various organizations in the district were properly coordinated.
The DC urged Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs)to target other hard � to � reach areas such as Maleta, Katuli, Lulanga, Masanje, and Bwananyambi where there were more vulnerable communities with regard to early marriages, teenage pregnancies and school dropouts.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA