Authorities in Mangochi have expressed worry over the fast rate in population growth, saying the development is affecting quality service delivery.
Speaking in an interview on Thursday during a media tour on sexual reproductive health and rights organised by Amref Health Africa, district deputy family planning coordinator Margaret Nyalugwe said recent statistics from the National Statistical Office (NSO) estimate that population in Mangochi is now at 1 131 378 million from 797 061 in 2008 when the last official national census results were issued.
She said this is putting pressure on resources as the gap in the ratio between patient to nurse and patient to doctor keeps widening.
“Young girls in the district continue to fall pregnant and drop out of school for marriage. Polygamy is also hugely contributing to the fast growing population.
“Ironically, such men do not allow their wives to follow family planning methods due to myths and traditional beliefs. Worse still, family planning methods such as Depo Provera injection are usually scarce in most of our health facilities. But we are promoting alternative family planning methods such as condoms,” said Nyalugwe.
Amref Health Africa project officer Charlene Chisema said her office is engaging young people in fighting teenage pregnancies and child marriages by encouraging them to continue with education and to use contraceptives.
Compared to other districts such as Dedza, whose population was 624 445 in 2008, and is projected to be 788 195 in 2018, according to NSO spokesperson Kingsley Manda, Mangochi’s population is by far on the higher side.