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Government tipped on population management

By Audrey Kapalamula:

PARTNERS IN DEVELOPMENT— Muluzi interacts with Nordic members of

Visiting members of Parliament (MPs) from the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden and Iceland have emphasised the need to intensify promotion of women empowerment and gender equality as one way of controlling population growth.

Chairperson of Foreign Affairs Committee in Iceland, Aslaug Arna Sigurbjornsdottir, said, while the country is making progress in the health sector, it continues to grapple with the effects of over population.

“It’s very important to empower women. Informing and educating young people about gender equality is a big step the country needs to take,” he said

The delegation met health officials, led by Minister responsible Atupele Muluzi, to appreciate the impact of their support in strengthening health systems in the country.

“All these countries have invested in Malawi; so, we wanted to see and understand where to invest further and how we can work together to make much progress,” she said

A preliminary report of the Population and Housing Census indicates that the country has about 17.6 million people, of which 51 percent are people under the age of 18 years.

Muluzi admitted that rapid population growth is having a negative impact on the provision of healthcare services in the country.

He, however, said the ministry is in the process of finalising a new population policy that would guide in the management of the population beyond sexual reproductive health issues.

“One of the areas that is extremely important is education to make sure that people have necessary information to make informed decisions. Our growing population, ageing infrastructure and weak economy mean that we will, unfortunately, continue to be indebted to the support of friends,” he said

The health sector remains donor dependent, with HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria management largely depending on donor support.

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