The Southern Africa Development Community Parliament Forum (Sadc- PF) has moved to accelerate the attainment of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Services (SRHRS) for all people in Sadc countries.
Sadc-PF Wednesday engaged members of Parliament and civil society organisations to foster mutual accountability and political will, among others, as principles underpinning the strategy.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Catherine Gotani Hara, said capacity building among the stakeholders would help to appreciate how crucial SRHRS are to the society.
“We agreed at Sadc level to have a project in all Sadc countries which will help Members of Parliament under sexual Reproductive Health Rights. The aim is to give them an understanding of how important it is for sexual reproductive health and rights to be respected and lobby for the government to give enough resources for the area,” Hara said.
She also said due to Covid-19, various health services have been affected leading to young people failing to access such services.
Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health, Fannie Kachale, said the country needs a lot of resources to ensure that the services are accessible for all.
She highlighted that in the 2020/2021 budget, the ministry requested about K250 million but they have been given 176 million only for such services.
“Some communities are failing to access the services for fear of Covid-19. But we have tried to counter the problem by providing information to the communities. We know of a few districts where an assessment has been done. We have seen that cases of teenage pregnancies have increased in Phalombe, Mangochi and Lilongwe,” Kachale said.
SRHRS Researcher and Project Officer for Sadc-PF, Gomezgani Ngwira, said they want MPs to pass laws that will allow people have equal access to sexual and reproductive health rights thereby reducing maternal mortality rates, teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions, among other targets.