The Parliamentary Health and Population Committee has said it will push government to allocate funding to the newly created budget line for family planning products under the Ministry of Health’s budget vote in the next 2013/14 national budget.
The committee’s chairperson Paul Chibingu said this on Friday during a USaid-funded Health Policy Project (HPP) discussion on commitments by legislators to advocate increased uptake and resources for family planning services in the country.
“Family planning is the cheapest solution to all problems that Malawi is facing today. We always talk of shortage of classrooms and drugs in hospitals. Malawians must critically look at the number of children to have because this has great impact on resources which the country has,” said Chibingu.
Ministry of Health maternal and neonatal health specialist Diana Khonje said currently no funds have been allocated to the newly created budget line to help lower the country’s population growth and deaths in abortions of unwanted pregnancies, among others.
“The goal is to raise Malawi’s contraceptive prevalence rate to 60 percent by 2020 with a disproportionate increase in those aged 15 to 24,” said Khonje.
USaid-funded Futures Group senior policy and advocacy adviser Olive Mtema said they are working with MPs and other stakeholders to build capacity to advocate management of population growth in the country.
Malawi is among countries with high fertility rates in the world currently standing at about six children per family. About 83 percent of its 14.5 million population is in rural areas where access to contraceptive methods is still limited.