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UNFPA Malawi kick starts the road to Nairobi with media as allies

15 July 2019
Eunice Ndhlovu from MBC (in the middle) emphasizing a point during the meeting

Lilongwe, MALAWI - The media in Malawi expressed their commitment to ensure the International Conference on Population and Development, ICPD agenda is kept in the public domain by writing more stories about it. This was said during a briefing session in Lilongwe on what has changed since the 1994 Cairo promises. 

UNFPA Malawi convened the media to highlight ‘what has changed’ in Malawi since 1994 as the road to Nairobi starts for Malawi. During the session, UNFPA Malawi presented the highlights on many indicators that have changed and among them the total fertility rate has declined from 6.7 in 1992 to 4.4 while modern contraceptive prevalence has jumped from 7% to 58%. On the unfinished business, poverty and income inequalities as well as improving human capital among the youth remain some of the persistent challenges.

In response, Eunice Ndhlovu, a senior reporter from Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation, MBC called for consistent collaboration and partnership on ICPD issues if they are to remain high on the public agenda. “Our engagement with UNFPA and other partners in these issues should not be spontaneous, but on a regular basis and we are always ready to work with you because these issues also affect the same community we work for” she said.

“Our engagement with UNFPA and other partners in these issues should not be spontaneous, but on a regular basis and we are always ready to work with you because these issues also affect the same community we work for”

Additionally, Kennedy Machira, an economist at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural resources, LUANAR emphasized in his presentation the benefits of slowing rapid population growth that Malawi is currently experiencing. He said that by reducing the total fertility rate, resources for investments in the social sector can be used for other development projects. “If we reduce our total fertility rate to 2.3, it means by 2050, Malawi will need require 371 fewer hospitals than if the current total fertility is maintained” he said.

In her remarks, Won Young Hong, UNFPA Malawi Representative requested for deliberate policies to invest in human capital especially the young people. “We must move away from the traditional way of thinking of building skills and knowledge among the young people; at present, technology must drive our policy on skills building amongst the young people of Malawi because this is how other countries are doing it and we must not seem to lag behind” she said

The newly constituted National Planning Commission Director General, Dr. Thomasi Munthali was also in attendance who explained the current envisioning process for Malawi which is underlying the fundamental principles of wealth creation largely linked to population growth.

More than 20 media personnel attended the meeting. The grand event in ICPD launch will take place in August at LUANAR campus with more than six hundred young people expected to attend.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           -Henry Chimbali-