By Lusekero Mhango

Evangelical Association of Malawi has bemoaned the lack of openness among parents to their children on sexual reproductive health issues saying the secrecy is contributing to the rise in cases of early marriages and teenage pregnancies in karonga.

Hawad Kusiya the national coordinator for EAM health commission said this on Tuesday during a stakeholders meeting that EAM organized that is part of their community action for transformation of child health project.

Kusiya who is also the northern region project program manager said CATCH is to facilitate community action on the issue which he said in the end will help in safe guarding the well being of the girls in the community.

“We have realized that there are a number of issues both cultural and religious that create sexual health information gap to children hence putting girl on the disadvantage in terms of knowing their development stage as they come to age.”

He added that EAM is engaging different stake holders to help in formulating messages to help reaching out to the target group, saying that that will help reducing the cases in the district.

“We are working with traditional, religious as well as guardians to try decreasing the cases,” he said.

Reverend Lazrey Mtekateka, board chair of EAM for Karonga said CATCH is including chiefs and the religious leaders, saying that they have a bigger role to play in reducing the early pregnancies, marriages and school drop outs among girls.

He therefore hopes through CATCH’s project parents as well as guardians will start realizing the importance of openness in sexual reproductive health issues to their children so as the current trend of rampant teenage pregnancies will be reduced.

Community action for transformation of health rights is a project being funded by the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) targeting girls and as well as early childhood development and is a 4 year project which will phase out in December 2020.