Safe Motherhood Coordinator for Blantyre District Health Office has expressed concern over the increasing number of teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortion-related complications in Blantyre.
Speaking at the stakeholder meeting organised by the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Ellida Bvutula said the district has recorded over 2,300 pregnancies between July and September this year.
She said the number was so huge this year compared to 2022, which was 1995.
Bvutula disclosed that this year alone, the facility has treated 849 young girls and women who have had deliveries and abortion-related complications.
“According to statistics, 31 out of 100,000 women and girls are dying due to maternal deaths in Blantyre district alone, while at national level the number is 439 out of 100,000”.
She said that with such high figures, there was a need for the office to institute a lot of activities to prevent young girls from getting pregnant.
“The possible solutions for us as health care providers are mostly health education for the community, making them aware so that they do not fall pregnant. We feel that community involvement is key for us to intervene in these problems before they propagate to become complications that may lead to maternal deaths, “she said.
Speaking at the meeting, CHRR project officer Dennis Mwafulirwa asked the government to consider reviewing the sexual reproductive health policies and laws, which, among others, will allow access to safe abortion.
Mwafulirwa disclosed that they are supporting the case of a minor who is seeking access to safe abortion after sexual assault.
Nyale Institute Executive Director Godfrey Kangaude said they were also supporting the case because once the courts determine the case, it will have an impact on social discourse and policy.
“We also hope that the case ruling will transform hospital practices towards survivors of sexual violence seeking termination of pregnancy, especially child survivors,” he said.