Family Planning Association of Malawi (Fpam) has started engaging traditional leaders to devise innovative ways to reach young people with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information amid Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking at one of the meetings at Mpamba in Nkhata Bay on Thursday, Fpam district manager for Mzimba and Nkhata Bay Alinafe Chasowa said the magnitude of teenage pregnancies in the country is worrisome.
She said: “A lot of girls are dropping out of school due to early pregnancies, so if they can be equipped with sexual and reproductive health knowledge, such things can be avoided.
“We are therefore empowering traditional leaders so that they should be at the forefront to advocate and fight against teen pregnancies and early marriages.”
On his part, Nkhata Bay District Health Office representative Austin Mwafulirwa advised young people to use the knowledge acquired from Fpam because it would help them to prevent early pregnancies which, most often, result in deaths and disabilities.
He also asked local leaders and parents to keep girls in school and send back to school those girls nursing babies.
Traditional Authority Timbiri commended Fpam for incorporating chiefs in the initiative, saying they are critical to the success of the programme because they live with the communities.
During the meeting, Fpam also provided clinical services such as cervical cancer screening and SRHR training services to youths and women.