EAM Health Commission national coordinator, Howard Kasiya, said it is disturbing to learn that the rate of teenage pregnancies has increased by three percent in recent study by the Malawi Demographic Survey.
“It is disturbing that despite the government and partner organizations putting a lot of interventions and efforts to reduce cases of early child bearing among adolescents, they are still on the rise,” he said.
He attributed the rise partly to parents’ inability to provide needs of the girl child because of poverty.
“It also appears that in our interventions we have not been packaging our messages by looking at geographic location and social economic status of the teens we are targeting to reverse the problem,” Kasiya said.
He said his organization has observed that many girl children living in urban areas have access to information on SRH and rights than their rural counterparts, some of them based in hard-to-reach areas.
Speaking in an interview with journalists, Acting Director of health and Social Services at Rumphi District Health Office, Dr Stephen Macheso, attributed the scenario to a clash of health and education policies.
“In primary and secondary schools, where there are a lot of teenagers, it is an open fact that they engage in sexual relationships. But the current education policy does not allow that they should have direct access to contraceptives,” he said.