Minister shocked by high rate of teen pregnancies in Karonga

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Minister of Health and Population, Jappie Mhango, has asked traditional leaders and stakeholders in Karonga to introduce strategies for reducing teenage pregnancies.

The Minister made the call Sunday after visiting Karonga District Hospital on official duty.

Jappie Mhango: Shocked

He said it was worrisome that about 30 of pregnancies at the hospital, were teenagers, who were supposed to be in schools.

Mhango said there was need for immediate intervention by chiefs and stakeholders on the matter.

“Let me ask Chiefs, District Council and other stakeholders to quickly intervene with awareness messages to curb the situation. The young girls are supposed to be in school and the 30 per cent statistics is quite worrisome,” he observed.

Mhango thanked the hospital’s management for its professional handling of Ebola speculation.

“It was not easy but they professionally handled everything and right now things are returning to normal,” he said.

The Minister then challenged management to do minor maintenances on the hospital infrastructure, saying the Ministry would support the crucial parts including ensuring availability of drugs.

He warned against drug theft, saying he just signed a new law that stipulate 30 years imprisonment with hard labour or a fine of K30 million for every offender.

Mhango also asked communities and citizens in Karonga to take full ownership of the hospital saying everyone has a responsibility and not the government alone.

“For example in Rumphi we had made a donation of a cold room and donated at the hospital, which is a good example of how responsible the citizens should be,” he said.

Commenting on teenage pregnancies, Director of Health and Social Services, Dr Phinius Mfune said on its part, his office through youth friendly health services is doing all it can to raise awareness.

He said 30 per cent of pregnant teens at the hospital was indeed an alarming figure.

Mfune complained of inadequate space at the maternity ward, shortage of drugs, infrastructural maintenances and others.

By Leonard Masauli – Mana

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