Malawi experiencing rapid population growth – Muluzi

Lilongwe: Minister of Health and Population Atupele Muluzi has said the country has experienced rapid population growth in the recent years. He made the remarks on Thursday at Crossroads Hotel during a Media engagement on family planning as a human right in Lilongwe.

Muluzi said the population has doubled within the past decade and currently it is estimated that there are around 17 million people. Although the country has experienced rapid growth in recent years, family planning is still a human right and we are saying yes to planning by the family and no to planning for the family and that family planning is a human right for couples to exercise, not population control to be imposed on us, the Minister pointed out.

Muluzi viewed that despite tremendous progress made in recent years to improve access of family planning services, nearly 700 million women and adolescent girls in developing countries now use modern contraceptives; 214 million women still lack modern contraceptives globally.

He disclosed that in Malawi, only three in every five adolescent women’s demand for contraceptives are met and for women over 20 years, the country is at seven in every 10 women.

The Minister cited some of the reasons for such development as availability of supplies, human resources and infrastructure challenges. Muluzi highlighted that the country is a signatory to numerous treaties, conventions and agreements that emphasize the country’s commitment to reproductive health and rights including family planning.

He urged the media to take a leading role in dissemination information on reproductive health.

Your role in informing the nation on issues of reproductive health and rights including family planning cannot be overemphasized as we will be commemorating the World Population Day on July 14,2018 in Mangochi, Muluzi explained.

United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA) supports family planning in developing countries including Malawi by ensuring a reliable supply of a full range of modern contraceptives, strengthening national health systems and promoting gender equality.

UNFPA Assistant Representative, Dorothy Nyasulu said family planning is a human rights and gender issue. She said family planning is about alternatives and contraceptive choices and not population control.

Family planning is about informed decision making based on access to correct and adequate information, active participant’s not passive beneficiaries, Nyasulu added. Mana/mk/tha

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA