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Mangochi, Malawi- Mangochi is one of the districts in Malawi with poor indicators on sexual and reproductive health including uptake of modern family planning methods. The Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) for married women of 30.9 percent in Mangochi is the lowest in the country and is far much below the national average of 58 percent.

The unmet need for family planning for Mangochi, which is estimated at 30.3 percent is the second highest in the country after Nkhatabay and is approximately double the national average figure of 18.7 percent. Only half (50 percent) of the demand for family planning in Mangochi is satisfied by modern methods which is the lowest in the country.

Teenage pregnancy in Mangochi has notably increased by 8.4 percentage points from 28 percent in 2010 to 36 percent in 2015, and is the fourth highest in the country. 

UNFPA in collaboration with the Embassy of Iceland and Mangochi District Health Office developed a 3-year project called ‘Advancing adolescent girls and young women’s health’ to address some of the challenges. This project is being implemented in three T/As of Lulanga, Makanjira and Chowe and is in its second year of implementation.

One of the activities during this implementation period was for Mangochi District Council to conduct a project assessment on teenage pregnancies in the target traditional authorities. Additionally, quarter three activities have been implemented and were due for review. It was against this background that UNFPA facilitated a meeting to provide a platform for dissemination of the assessment findings and review the progress so far.

Despite the challenges highlighted above, Mangochi District Council is working to improve the numbers and are committed to ensuring that women and girls in Mangochi are reached with quality SRHR information and services.  For instance, the findings that Mangochi District Council presented show a steady increase in number of additional users of Family Planning for adolescent Girls (15-19) in the district.

 Another key achievement is on fistula repairs. About 32 women and girls, living with fistula, received treatment through UNFPA supported intervention and another 32 indirectly identified and referred by fistula ambassadors trained with support from the project.

There has also been completion and opening of renovation of family planning rooms at Chikole, Mase, Malombe, Malukula, Lugola, Lungwena, Kadango and Namalaka Health centres. Additionally, completion of renovation of the minor theatre at Mangochi district hospital, which will institutionalize fistula repairs.

In her remarks, Ms. Miranda Tabifor Officer-in-Charge for UNFPA Malawi commended the Mangochi District Council for their increased leadership in UNFPA supported activities.

Your continued support and supervision to the implementing sectors will bring out the desired results. There is a need to continue adhere to financial controls and reporting to ensure continuous and timely liquidation of the activities implemented.

However, teenage pregnancies in Mangochi are still at worrisome levels requiring reprogramming of project implementation strategy. This will ensure that data for all project indicators is up to date and consistently reported.

Ms. Inga Peutiidotir, Head of Mission at the Embassy of Iceland reinforced the importance of synergies for programme effectiveness.

“There is a need to review the remaining budget, provide a breakdown of each intervention and Obstetric Fistula patients as should be given priority,” she said.

Ms. Petuttisdotir praised the UNFPA and Mangochi District Council and closed the meeting by saying, “Iceland is passionate about treating teenage pregnancies and Fistula in Mangochi. Opportunities change lives if girls and women and we are that bridge that can provide them with the best available choices we can.”

By Sanghmitra Duggal, Program Coordination Analyst