Vice-President Khumbo Kachali on Tuesday expressed concern over the countryâ€™s high fertility rate which now stands at 5.7 children per family and challenged men to fully participate in family planning initiatives to reduce the figures.
Speaking during the opening of the National Leadersâ€™ Conference on Family Planning, Population and Development in Lilongwe, Kachali described the fertility rate as â€œstubbornly and unacceptably high and worrisome.â€
â€œThe problem is that when a Malawian family has five or six children, then you think you have accomplished something.
â€œThis is [a] worrisome situation since it indicates that development gains, economic growth, food security and the social services are likely going to be strained and may not be adequate and responsive enough due to the increased pressure of a growing population on a very limited resource base,â€ said Kachali.
Meanwhile, despite Malawi still struggling to lower its maternal mortality ratio, the country is the recipient of this yearâ€™s Resolve Award in recognition of its efforts in investing in reproductive health.
Disclosing this at the ceremony on Tuesday, UNFPA resident representative Athanase Nzokirishaka said the country will receive the award from the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health at a ceremony to be held in Geneva Switzerland in two weeksâ€™ time.
Nzokirishaka said despite such an achievement, Malawi still has a long way to go in tackling numerous reproductive health problems.
He said among several challenges, the countryâ€™s total fertility rate at 5.7 is stillÂ high despite an increase in contraceptive prevalence rate now at 42 percent while unmet need for family planning continues to remain high at 26 percent.
â€œThis is a big problem for our country growing economy because women who have too many pregnancies, too soon and too close fail to participate effectively in development,â€ he said.