Aug 19, 2017 Last Updated 2:22 PM, Aug 18, 2017


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High cases of abuse on women and HIV /AIDS infections are expected to be reduced in Malawi's central region district of Ntcheu in the next five years.

This follows engagement of traditional leaders as well as faith leaders in the district by local Non Governmental Organisation Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COWLHA).

The organisation is implementing a project with emphasis in women empowerment under new approach known as Sasa Faith.

In the new approach, the NGO will be using local leaders and faith leaders in raising awareness aimed at reducing such cases in the district.

Previously, the grouping was using Star Circle method whereby it was using community facilitators in raising awareness on evils of such malpractices.

Speaking to Capital FM, COWLHA Programs Manager views the new approach will go a long way in achieving the project desired goal.

Harry Madukani disclosed that with the intervention, a large number of communities will be reached with key messages on gender based violence and HIV/AIDS unlike previous methodologies.

"Religious and local leaders are too influential in the communities as they demand a large following.

And we strongly believe their involvement will have a great impact in reducing the cases of gender based violence as well as HIV/AIDS in the district," explained Madukani.

A local leader under Traditional Authority Mpando disclosed that the project have helped a lot in reducing cases of abuses against women in his area of jurisdiction.

Group Village headman Madana however described their engagement as a welcome development hence reaffirmed total commitment in raising awareness to communities.

COWLHA is implementing the initiative with financial assistance from Trocare.

Five people have died in a road accident in Malawi’s central region of Ntcheu

The accident occurred Wednesday morning at Salima turn - off in the district.

Police in the district have confirmed of the accident in which five others have escaped with various degrees of injuries.

Ntcheu Police Publicist disclosed the vehicle a Toyota Land Cruiser landed on an electric pole after its driver failed to negotiate a corner due to over speeding.

Hastings Chigalu stated the vehicle registration number MG 5559 belongs to Chitipa District Agriculture Office and was heading towards Balaka from Salima direction with ten passengers on board.

"Five people including the driver died on spot while two others sustained serious injuries with the rest escaping with minor injuries," explained Chigalu.

In the meantime police have identified the deceased as Sekani Ngulube Gama and Margret Phiri while the three other deceased are not yet identified while the rest are receiving medical treatment at Balaka District Hospital.

Health authorities in Malawi's central region district of Ntcheu are optimistic that cases of stunting among under aged children will be reduced.

This follows rolling out of community mobilization campaigns to be facilitated by Story Workshop through communication for development.

The awareness campaigns come after the Malawi Government under the Ministry of Health recently introduced a micro nutrient powder known Mix Me.

Known as “Ndisaknizeni” in vernacular a single sachet which contains vitamins, iodine and mixed with locally available food is given to children under the age of two to help prevent stunting and malnutrition.

The idea is to increase the quality, quantity and frequency of food consumption among targeted under aged children in the two districts of Ntcheu and Nkhatabay respectively.

Speaking to Capital FM, a Nutritionist at Ntcheu District Health Office described the campaigns as helpful since they will help in raising awareness to communities concerning the powder.

George Mtengowadula believes at the end of the campaign cases of stunting growth will be reduced in the district.

"Communities lack basic knowledge on how to prepare nutritious food, this is why we are prioritising making them aware to address such problems," explained Mtengowadula.

Project officer for Story Workshop reveals they will rely much on drama groups to get their messages across.

Gladson Makowa stressed that the use of drama in message dissemination will help in behaviour change among people in the society.

"Behavior change among communities remains a key challenge hence awareness messages will help to break that cycle in a bid to reduce stunting," Makowa said.

In recent years, surveys have shown that micronutrient deficiencies are major public health problems in Malawi.

This is according to Malawi Demographic Health Surveys, of 2000, 2004, and 2010 and national micronutrient surveys in 2001 and 2009.

Malawi’s, under-nutrition remains considerably high with almost 37% under-five children stunted.

Cases of defilement continue to be registered in Malawi's central region district of Ntcheu. 

The district has failed to reduce cases of such nature for the first half of the year.

Last year, 18 cases were reported as the case with this year as the number still remains stagnant.

And the latest case is of the arrest of a 47 year old MacDonald Chautsi from Saidi village, Traditional Authority Kwataine in the district.

Chautsi was arrested on Tuesday on allegations that he had his 13 year old epileptic step daughter.

Ntcheu Police publicist Hastings Chigalu disclosed that the suspect who is married to the mother of the victim defiled the girl while his wife was away.

"The suspect took advantage of his wife's absence to defile the step daughter then instructed her not report to anyone of the ordeal.

But despite the instructions, the victim revealed to her mother who later took the issue to the village headman before alerting the law enforcers," Chigalu disclosed.

Medical examination at Ntcheu District Hospital confirmed that the girl had indeed been defiled.

The suspect, who is also answering murder charges and currently on court bail, has been remanded to Ntcheu prison awaiting trial.

He has been charged with defilement which contravenes section 138 of the Penal Code.

A lawmaker in Malawi's central region district of Ntcheu is asking government to award contracts to firms that are able to deliver.

This comes amidst observations that Farm Input Subsidy Program supples usually fail to meet expectations.

In the past years most of the suppliers did not have structures in remote areas and had challenges in transporting the inputs to beneficiaries.

The development follows a report presented to Ntcheu district council by agriculture sub- committee of the council on how the program has performed in the district for the 2016/17 farming season.

Speaking to Capital FM, legislator for Ntcheu west constituency expressed concern on how beneficiaries in his constituency were struggling to access the farm inputs.

Mwai Kamuyambeni disclosed that people were forced to cover a distance of close to 90 kilometers to buy the inputs in which they could also spend a day or two days before accessing them.

"People in my constituency had difficulties in accessing the inputs during the implementation due to mobility challenges.

Many were forced to cover long distances with other sleeping at selling points to access the inputs," Kamuyambeni explained.

The Ntcheu West legislator however suggested to government to assess contractors before awarding them contracts.

He stated that this will help to address mobility challenges faced by benefiting communities during the 2016 /17 program.

During the 2016/17 farming season, government awarded 60% contract to over 20 private traders in the procurement and retailing of the inputs to benefiting farming households.

The remaining 40% was shared by government controlled companies thus Agriculture Development Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) and Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund Malawi (SFFRFM).

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