People from Traditional Authority (T/A) Lulanga in Mangochi will now easily access family planning services, thanks to a training Amref Health Africa conducted for 10 youth volunteers.
The volunteers are expected to help people with family planning contraceptives and provide sexual and reproductive health rights services to curb teenage pregnancies, child marriages and HIV and Aids, among others.
In an interview after the training, Ministry of Health chief reproductive health officer responsible for National Family Planning Programme, Mary Phiri ,said Mangochi remains one of the districts in the country lagging behind on family planning; hence, volunteers’ training was critical.
“We are excited with Amref for training these volunteers to help us in taking family planning methods from one house to another,” she said.
Phiri said the volunteers’ involvement will ensure that people have access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health rights services, saying this will address the challenges of teenage pregnancies and child marriages.
She said: “Mangochi has only 27 percent of family planning uptake, which is below the national figure at 58 percent for married people while for the unmarried it is at 48 percent.
“Therefore, to us the training is not ordinary, but one coming at a right time to address the yawning gap we have.”
Phiri asked Amref Health Africa to continue training more people, saying it remains government’s desire that people in the district have easy access to family planning services.
On her part, Amref Health Africa project officer Charlene Chisema said the increase in teenage pregnancies and child marriages is a result of failure to access family planning methods due to geographical barriers, which prompted her organisation to engage volunteers.
One of the volunteers, Regina Nkhoma, pledged to move door-to-door to provide the services to people.