Just six months in 2021, Ntchisi district has recorded 396 teenage pregnancies from girls ranging from 10-19 years of age.
According to Ntchisi District Youth Friendly Health Services (YFHS) Coordinator, Thokozani Kaledzera, this is so because Covid 19 pandemic has led to the reduction in uptake of youth friendly services such as some family planning methods.
â€śCovid 19 has led to drop of other services in the country and Ntchisi is not left out, after the closure of schools YFHS utilization reduced in all facilities and this led to an increase in teenage pregnancies from January to May this year,” she said.
Kaledzera blamed the increase on few health care workers that have been trained in youth friendly and health services and lack of donor support towards youth friendly services.
She said community awareness was a challenge to them because of myths, beliefs and misconceptions when it comes to youth and family planning utilization.
â€śWe have 13 facilities and out of these five there is no one to provide the YFHS services, while four of them have one provider and fourÂ facilities have two providers of which these four are regarded as accredited ones that provide quality services to the youths.”
â€śSome community members have their own understanding especially when it comes to do with the youth and family planning utilization a thing that has led to a decrease in usage of YFHS because most parents think their wards are being taught bad behaviours,” the Coordinator said.
Kaledzera said plans are under way to conduct interface meetings and community sensitization as well as training more youth friendly and health services providers depending on the availability of funds.
Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) one of the organizations that has been championing for girls education and protection of their rights in the district said the figures show that the battle is being won.
National Coordinator for the Association, Howard Kasiya said before they introduced a project called Nâ€™zatonse they used to record 700 to 800 teenage pregnancies in six months.
â€śWe need to be celebrating this success, it is good to know this, honestly we are winning the battle this is because the before EAM introduced then Nâ€™zatonse project in 2014 Ntchisi was getting 700-800 teenage pregnancies in the said months,â€ť he said.
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