Malawi, already grappling with high population growth, faces a fresh challenge as the impact of cyclone Idai has disrupted planned delivery of contraceptives from the hard-hit Mozambican port city of Beira.
In a statement published yesterday, Ministry of Health (MoH) Principal Secretary Dan Namarika said contraceptives such as injectable (Depo-IM), Implanon and Jadelle are stuck at Beria Port in Mozambique due to a disruption in transportation systems.
Reacting to the development, health rights activist Maziko Matemba said the situation was sad. He said it will have an adverse impact on the population as contraceptives are critical to population control.
He said: “It will have a negative impact at the short-term as we await the arrival of these family planning commodities which are critical in managing population as Malawi is at a critical point in managing population growth which is already high.”
Besides, Matemba urged for a quick resolution to the challenge and that the ministry must have contingency plans.
But Namarika, in the statement, said the ministry is striving to ensure delivery of the contraceptives by, among other proposals, exploring internal arrangements to redistribute what is available in some facilities to ensure stock availability.
In a separate interview, MoH director of reproductive health Fannie Kachale could not specifiy when the contraceptives would be restored, but said efforts are being made towards the cause.
According to National Statistical Office (NSO), the country’s population has risen from 13 029 498 in 2008 to 17 563 749 in 2018.
Malawi’s current demand for family planning stands at 78 percent, according to the 2015-2016 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS).
The survey, the fifth since 1992, states that 59 percent of married women use family planning methods with 58 percent of them using modern methods and one percent traditional methods.
Similarly, 44 percent of unmarried women (between 15 to 49 years) use contraceptives where out of the total figure, 43 percent use a modern method and one percent use traditional methods.