As Malawi continues to struggle to provide social services to its citizens, government is contemplating regulating child bearing in order to control the country’s population.
Minister of Gender, Disability and Child Welfare Development, Patricia Kaliati, revealed this on Saturday in Balaka in an interview on the sidelines of the launch of Improved Nutrition for Pregnant Women and Under- Five Children, which is being implemented by Sacramentine Sisters with funding from Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
She said at the rate the country’s population is growing, there is a possibility that government in the future will struggle to support its people with social services such as free medical service and affordable education, hence the need to start planning before the situation worsens.
Kaliati said currently, some families are failing to support their children, a situation which has increased the level of poverty as well as bloating the number of street children.
“As a country, there is a need to start controlling child-bearing in order to match with the country’s available resources. We cannot continue to operate as if everything is under control yet we all know that our resources are being stretched by population which will be worse in the immediate future if not checked,” she said.
Kaliati cited the issue of early marriages as another challenge which needs collaborative efforts in order to improve living conditions for young girls by among other things finding ways to delay their child-bearing through education.
“Already, 47 percent of the country’s children are malnourished because families are failing to provide basic needs to their children. The situation is worse considering that a big part of these children are born to single teen mothers. As government, we are worried that the development seems not to be improving despite interventions by government and other stakeholders,” she said.
CRS Deputy Head of Programmes, Norias Kayira, said her organisation intends to build capacity for Catholic Sisters in the area of Early Child Development (ECD) in order for them to assist rural women in best nutrition practices for pregnant women and under-five children.
“Malnutrition and static growth should be a concern for everyone in this country. That is why as a humanitarian religious organisation we thought of complementing development efforts by fighting malnutrition and static growth through the programme we are launching today,” she said.
Kayira said the programme, which will be implemented by Catholic Sisters in all dioceses in Malawi, will run for three years with a funding of U$700,000 dollars.
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