Key stakeholders in Machinga have teamed up to curb teenage pregnancies and child marriages in the district, saying the vices are frustrating efforts to enhance development.
The stakeholders that comprised chiefs, council officials, religious leaders, mother groups, parents, angaliba and anankungwi, (initiation counsellors) among others, said this on Saturday at a consultative workshop in Liwonde convened by SRHR Africa Trust (SAT) and Youth Response for Social Change.
The district’s gender development officer Rita Sukasuka said in terms of the rise in teenage pregnancies and child marriages, the district is on position three trailed by Lilongwe and Blantyre.
She said from March 2020 to January 2021, the district recorded 2 398 cases of teenage pregnancies and 969 cases of child marriages. However, the district dissolved 509.
Sukasuka decried that the situation is bad and poses a serious health risk among the youth.
In an interview, Senior Chief Mlomba pledged to work with all the structures to end teenage pregnancies and child marriages.
“We are dismayed by these vices. Apart from frustrating development, teenage pregnancies and child marriages are decaying our good morals,” he said.
His colleague, group village head Likhonyowa said they will step up efforts in enforcing the by-laws to punish perpetrators of the vices.
“We declare to double our efforts to reverse the trend. We want to save lives of adolescent girls and young women,” he promised.
In his remarks, SRHR Africa Trust country director Robert Mangwazu Phiri said the workshop was aimed at exploring the root causes of the problems.
“We want to win the battle against the vices. This can be done by engaging key stakeholders, who are critical in helping us achieve that,” he said.