Machinga District Heath Office says cases of Sexually transmitted diseases and early pregnancies among the youth are very high in the district because of low uptake of family planning methods.

Assistant Youth Friendly Health Services Coordinator, Kenneth Mkandawire said this on Saturday during a Family Planning Association of Malawi’s awareness campaign meeting held at group village head Mangamba headquarters in the area of senior chief Liwonde.

He said 14 in every 100 cases in the health facilities are  Sexualy Transmitted Infection (STI) cases adding that the figures are likely to double if private health facility figures are added.

“In terms of teenage pregnancies currently out of all women who are pregnant about 43 percent are teenagers of 10 to 24 years old. From January to August this year, the number of teenage pregnancies have reached 2,203,” he said.

He observed that TA Liwonde is one such area where young people are not adequately accessing family planning services.

“Our records are showing that between January and August this year, only 55 youth are currently accessing family planning methods in our three heath facilities here in Liwonde.

“We are very much worried because the area has 592 youths of age between 10 and 24 who are receiving antenatal services. In addition, 325 young girls have delivered, 89 have tested positive to STI and 48 are on ART.” he said.

He also expressed a concern over 14 percent HIV prevalence rate among the youth in the district.

Mkandawire attributed the increased cases of STI and early pregnancies to Covid 19 pandemic saying since the onset of the virus most of the family planning interventions were scaled down.

He said the district hospital has partnered with NGOs such as FPAM to make the services available to young people.

“FPAM through Yes I Do project has helped us sell youth friendly health services to the community and they have also strengthened youth friendly health services around TA Liwonde at Mangamba, Namandanje and Mbonechera health centers,” he added.

FPAM’s Executive Director said he was very happy with the fruit progress his organisation has done through Yes I Do project.

“From what people have shared today it demonstrates that the project has achieved a lot. Young people, district stakeholders and traditional leadership have all attested to the success of the project,” he said.

He also said he is very much optimist that communities will also be sustaining the fruit of the project on their own.

“The project has come to an end but as FPAM we will continue to work with them so that the gain we have registered so far should not go in vain,” he said.

Group Village Head Mangamba said since it was introduced in 2016 his subjects have benefited a lot from Yes I do Project.

“We have young girls who have now completed their education now because of the project. Some who were withdrawn from early marriages are about to write their MSCE and standard 8 exams,” he explained.

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