The Malawi Parliamentary Health Committee has urged young people in the country to show strong support for the passing of Termination of Pregnancy Bill (TPB), saying the bill is important to the youth.
This is according to the chairperson for the Parliamentary Health Committee Dr Mathews Ngwale who was speaking on Thursday in Blantyre at the commemoration of international human rights day which falls on 10th December.
Dr Ngwale said it is very worrisome that making noise on the ground are people who are against the passing of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill while most of the youths have kept quiet.
The chairperson said youths who also happens to be the most vulnerable group over the matter, need to make noise in support of the passing of the bill which is expected to be tabled in the coming parliamentary sitting.
He further added that his committee hasn’t so far received any petition from any youth group supporting the bill yet underground they are the ones who wholeheartedly wants it passed to reduce number of girls who are dying due to unsafe abortion.
“My message was about what is happening in the country that a lot of girls are dying of unsafe abortion which is a byproduct of gender based violence which we have been commemorating for the past two weeks.
“The bill has not been discussed in the Parliament because the youths themselves hasn’t shown that they are angry with what’s going on. The president has paved way for discussions over the matter and Parliament too but the question is where are the youths.” wondered Ngwale.
He further urged the youths to be strong and self-dependent in fighting for their own human rights and added that they should not necessarily wait for organizations to do it on their behalf.
However, reacting to Ngwale’s sentiments was Blantyre Chairperson for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) Tisungane Sitima who said it isn’t that the youths are idle on the matter.
Sitima said the youths have been active for some time but pointed finger on the coming of COVID-19 pandemic which she said has compromised their activities due some restrictions which were put to fighting the virus.
“It’s not that we the youths are idle, no, we have been doing awareness campaigns on the matter. It’s only that we were restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Said Sitima.
She further added that they are now almost ready to do what it cost for the bill to be discussed and passed in the next parliament sitting claiming that’s the only solution to curbing increased maternal deaths amongst the youths.
This year’s international human rights day was commemorated under the theme ‘recover better – stand up for human rights’ and the day coincidentally fell on the last day of 16 days of activism on gender based violence.