Population and Development Institution of Health Policy Plus has urged Malawi to promote policies and programs that will encourage more people to use contraceptive methods in order for the country to realize its development potential.
Technical advisor of the organisation Luka Japhet Nyirongo said investing in family planning leads to positive outcomes across all sectors
He noted that the country has already taken tremendous strides in expanding access to equitable, high quality and voluntary family planning services, with a broad mix of methods offered.
However, there’s still a long way to go as on average the desired fertility rate for Malawians is 3.4 children per woman instead of the current 4.4.
Speaking in an interview, Nyirongo said Malawi needs joint efforts from all sectors as they have a responsibility to advocate for increased investment in family planning programs in order to achieve the family planning goal which is to see 60 percent of women using modern contraceptives by the year 2020.
Dowa District Family Planning Coordinator, Davison Machika, said modern family planning methods are used mostly by married women as compared to men and girls because of low literacy levels in the district.
Machika said there is a link between literacy level and family planning because understanding has always been a problem due to myths surrounding some of the methods making people shun family planning.
In her remarks, Jessie Chirwa, a Reproductive Health Officer in the Ministry of Health said the main drive to Malawi’s population growth is high fertility rate which is at 4.4 births per woman and that one in three teens of ages 15-19 has begun child bearing.
Chirwa called for an increase in male involvement in family planning issues projecting that in 2050, if the fertility is not changed, 10 million more children will be added.
She expressed hope that if Malawi’s fertility rate decreases from 4.4 children per woman to 2.3, the population is expected to reach 34.3 million in 2050 which is 20 percent lower if the fertility rate remains unchanged.