Plan International Malawi says provision of youth-friendly health services is a catalyst that can drive eradication of mushrooming teenage pregnancies in the country.
Plan Malawi programme manager for the North Chakufwa Munthali said this on Friday at Enukweni Health Centre in Traditional Authority Mtwalo in Mzimba District during the handover of a K15 million Enukweni Youth-friendly Health Services Corner constructed by Plan Malawi in collaboration with the Evangelical Association of Malawi and a community-based organisation called Tovwirane.
He said: “We carried out a survey to establish why youths were shunning hospitals to seek reproductive health services amid more cases of early pregnancies in the area. It was established that they feared being looked at as promiscuous as hospitals did not have private structures for offering youth friendly health services.
“We have to come in to improve the situation by providing this corner with separate structure from the main hospital building in a safe environment.”
In his remarks, M’Mbelwa District Council director of health and social services Ted Bandawe said patronage of youths at clinics with separate structures for youth-friendly health services is huge compared to clinics that do not have such provisions.
Last year, the district registered 1 025 teenage pregnancy and from January this year to date the total number of registered teenage pregnancies has hit 200, according to Bandawe.
“With the interventions brought forward by our partiers, we anticipate that the number will go down,” he added.