Different stakeholders came together on Saturday to push government to ensure that the Termination of Pregnancy Bill is tabled in Parliament in order to change abortion laws in Malawi.
Participants at a capacity building training workshop on reporting abortion in Lilongwe said the law has to be reformed in order to give power to health workers to terminate pregnancies in accordance to the law without facing challenges.
Abortion in Malawi is only legal in cases where the aim is to save the life of the mother.
Ministry of Health’s Dr Owen Chikhwaza said there is need to include more reasons since the law attaches to different dimension such as spiritual, moral and health.
“We are seeking government intervention on this issue because currently nearly one death of pregnant women is due to unsafe abortion, most of the times when women rejected at health services use native medicine which at the end of the day cost their lives,” he explained.
In her remarks, Gender activist Emma Kaliya said the law needs to be reformed since women are losing lives.
She asked traditional leaders to take part in the issue although Senior Chief Mabulabo said church leaders are the hindering the progress of the bill.
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Speaking on the same, CSJ board chairperson Reverend Father Martin Kalimbe said it is unacceptable to preach and speak on such issues saying it is abomination.
Father Kalimbe explained that although it is the case the church cannot allow to lose many lives of women due to spiritual issues since by doing so the church cannot grow.
In her testimony, Miss Margaret Kawale from Mponera said she lost her marriage after having unsafe abortion using native medicine. She therefore asked girls and women to go for safe abortion in hospitals which have qualified medical personnel.
According to reports, in Malawi an estimated 141,000 abortions were performed in 2015.The number translates to a rate of 38 abortion per 1,000 women aged 15-49.
The workshop was conducted by Centre for Solutions Journalism together with officials from government and Ipas.