Malawi’s major donors, the UK, Germany and the United States have invested a combined K22 billion (about $53 000) in family planning and reproductive health programmes.
Minister of Health Catherine Gotani Hara launched the programmes at Ufulu Gardens in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
The three donors together with Population Services International (PSI) and Banja La Mtsogolo (BLM), are implementing the Strengthening Public Private Partnerships for Reproductive Health Programme on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
This is a four-year programme designed to support public health facilities, private service providers and non-governmental organisations to improve knowledge, access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services using rights-based and gender sensitive approach.
Speaking during the launch, German Ambassador Peter Woeste, said through these programmes his government aims at reducing maternal mortality rate and the high population growth in Malawi.
“It is important to empower and educate women, particularly those at very young age before they have their first child, so that they can exercise their human right of a free choice about the number and spacing of their first children,” said Woeste, whose government has invested K10.7 billion (20 million euro).
UKaid head of office in Malawi, Sarah Sanyahumbi, whose government has provided K11.5 billion (19 million British pounds), said scaling up support in the area of family planning and reproductive health can really make a difference to Malawi’s development.
“I know how deeply Malawians care for their children and desire the best of for them. They need to have smaller size families. This very personal need is at the heart of Malawi development as smaller families can lead to improved levels of health and education and is good for Malawi development as a whole,” she said.
The minister lauded the two programmes and pledged government political will to help curb high population and unwanted pregnancies through modern family planning methods.
“Modern family planning methods help to alleviate unwanted pregnancies help. It is scaring that in four teenagers are bearing children,” said Hara, who was companied by her deputy Halima Daudi.