Sep 24, 2017 Last Updated 10:33 AM, Sep 22, 2017

Following reports that unsafe abortions are still being carried out and leading to the death of mothers and young girls in Malawi, health experts are appealing to the relevant authorities for the legalisation of safe abortion.

A 2009 research conducted by the Coalition for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (COPUA) found that at the time 67,000 women had unsafe abortions in Malawi.

At the time this cost the government US$1 million to treat complications.

A later study conducted by COPUA in 2015, revealed that 141,000 women had abortions in Malawi, of which 53% were from unintended pregnancies.

60% of the 141,000 abortions resulted in complications for the mothers, due to unsafe abortion.

On a daily basis, the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre receives around ten women for post abortion care, which indicates that some women are still resorting to unsafe abortions.

Chisale Mhango, a Gynaecologist at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre told Capital FM that there is need to legalise safe abortion in the country.

Mhango added that countries such as South Africa have managed to reduce cases of unsafe aborting through legalisation of safe abortion.

Currently the abortion law in Malawi is designed to prevent or eliminate deaths resulting from abortion, however a woman faces seven to 14 years imprisonment for having an abortion, as does the individual who offers and carries out the abortion. 

The majority of Faith leaders have always stood their ground, condemning legislation which allows for the termination of pregnancy.

Founder of Word Alive Ministries International in Malawi, Zacc Kawalala stated that there is no need to legalise the act, what needs to be changed are people’s behaviour.

“Not all the unwanted pregnancies are rape cases, they are mostly of people having children outside marriage.

We cannot legalise killing because many people are killing, therefore we cannot legalise safe abortion because it is being done by many people,” Kawalala added.

Analysis

This is an issue that will continue to be debated among people in the country.

One thing for sure is that something needs to be done in order to reduce not only the deaths but also the amount of money government loses on a daily basis caring for women and girls who have had unsafe abortions.

With or without a law allowing the termination of pregnancy among mothers and girls, a solution needs to be found.

Young Malawians have been encouraged to generate ingenious ideas that will help accelerate social change in the southern Africa nation whose youth cover 70% of its growing population.

The call was made on 16 September in the commercial city, Blantyre where the alumni of Student with Dreams (SWD) gathered at the MPC Conference Centre to craft a network of the creative youth leadership programme which started in 2011.

Speaking to Capital FM the Programmes Officer of SWD-Malawi, Lekodi Magombo noted with concern that Malawi’s education system focuses “too much” on memorisation and academic antagonism. Aspects he believes are “curtailing ingenuity and cooperation.”

Explained Magombo: “The project’s idea is to encourage college students to use arts-based methodologies to achieve social change while creating replicable models that contest obstructions to healthy living,” he stressed: “We strongly believe there is an urgent need to help and challenge learners use a lot of ingenuity and collaboration.”

According to the ex-Chancellor College student, SWD makes sure that those that are willing to participate in the programme are as artistic as they can be. On the belief that Malawian youth are in dire need of supplementary opportunities to pursue their passions and develop the country

“No wonder we call the program’s partakers dreamers. At SWD we ensure that students ambitiously go beyond the course their studying or career. In other words, we inspire participants to think outside the box.”

A former ‘dreamer’ himself, Magombo added that the 46 projects that SWD has implemented in three public colleges have had a tremendous impact on both the dreamers and communities.

“Our idea of establishing a network of SWD’s alumni stemmed on the imperative necessity to brainstorm, share challenges, achievements, offer support and response. We would like to expand to two more institutions of higher learning beyond Chancellor College (Chanco), Domasi Teacher Training College (DTTC) and Malawi College of Health Sciences  

Applicants who have a vision, ambition and drive change in Malawi are taken through a demanding selection process before being enrolled into an orientation and training course after which they are given a $300 grant to execute their project under the guidance of the Art and Global Health Centre (AGHC).

“During the course of my project I was able to harness my skills in community development, financial and time management and accountability. Aspects I deem pivotal for a youthful leaders,” said Hebert Fletcher, a graduate of the Chancellor College (Chanco). 

While recommending the programme to other college students, a final year student at Chanco, Uchizi Menda said her literacy project at Mulunguzi Secondary School in Zomba has given her the feeling of patriotism.

“I have drastically improved on my ability to work with others, project design and implementation and conflict resolution,” she added.

SWD seeks to develop youthful leaders by encouraging critical thinking, creative problem solving. The programme further cultivates skills in project design, implementation and management. In the process SWD raises team work and support.

The creative youth leadership programme is a brainchild of AGHC-Africa whose core objective is to propel resourceful management and execution of inventive, skillful, health focused projects that seek to motivate and drum up sustainable development.

   

Water shortages continue in most parts of Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre.

The development is raising fears among residents in the city as the prolonged shortage might affect their health.

In areas such as Chilobwe, Mbayani and Bangwe, many have had to resort to drawing water from shallow wells and rivers.

Women carrying buckets in search of water have also become the order of the day, as they scramble for this natural resource from the few points that have running water.

This has created unhygienic conditions in households, especially those that use flush toilets, which require water after use.

The Blantyre Water Board  recently warned residents that water would become scarce in some areas because of maintenance works on one of its main pipes along the Masauko Chipembere highway.

Residents are however not convinced this is the cause of their dry taps, as they have been experiencing water shortages for the past few weeks, even before the fault on the main pipe.

About a week ago it was reported in the media the board has outstanding bills with power supplier ESCOM.

ESCOM is reported to have cut supply to some of BWB’s pumping stations hence the shortage of water in the city.

The Limbe Senior Grade Magistrate Court has sentenced a 20 year old man to 15 years Imprisonment with Hard Labour (IHL) for defiling a five year old girl.

Confirming the development with the Malawi News Agency, the Assistant Public Relations Officer for Limbe Police, Widson Nhlane said the accused, Nenani Brown defiled the girl in Soche Township in Blantyre.

He explained that the accused person defiled the girl in his house after taking advantage of the absence of her mother who had gone out on errands in the Township.

The victim revealed the ordeal to her neighbours who noticed that she was having difficulties walking.

The neighbours are reported to have called her mother who reported the matter to Soche Police station.

Medical examination results indicate that the girl was indeed defiled.

The accused pleaded guilty to the charge and was slapped with a 15 year custodial sentence to act as a deterrent measure to would be culprits.

The Blantyre City Council (BCC) has entered preliminary stages of constructing parkades in Malawi’s commercial capital towards addressing parking space challenges.

The Council has, through the Private Public Partnership Commission, started looking for a contractor to help in the designing and construction of the said structure.

The city has an acute shortage of parking space which has seen the council turning some of the roads into one way passages to create space.

On the other hand, the shortage is also exacerbated by companies occupying various buildings who have a tendency of barring public access to roadside parking within their premises.

Speaking to Capital FM, BCC’s Director of Leisure, Culture and Environmental Services Sylvester Mitini Nkhoma confirmed that processes towards the construction of the parkades have started.

Nkhoma however could not give specific details on when the actual construction works would commence.

Motorists that spoke to this reporter described the BCC’s plans as a welcome developed since finding parking space in the CBD is a nightmare they endure almost on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the PPP Commission has started inviting proposals for Consultants to conduct a Feasibility Study on the same.

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