BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Malawi First Lady, Madame Gertrude Mutharika on Saturday, called on all stakeholders in the country to invest in sexual and reproductive health services, specifically those tailored for the youth. She said the youths are pillars of any development in the country.
Madam Mutharika, who is the President of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV and Aids (OAFLA), said this at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre during a meeting she held with youth on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) and rights, and HIV prevention.
“Remember we say, “Nothing For Us Without Us,” not so? Allow me to add that, “Nothing for the Youth Without the Youth.” Young people must take part in all social, economic and political processes.
“The youth must be given priority in all aspects of national development. Time is now for the Youth to be given the space to unleash their full potential,” Madam Mutharika said.
“This event is in line with the mission and vision of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA). As the president of OAFLA, I want this country to lead in addressing gaps in the provision of sexual and reproductive health services, and HIV prevention to the people, especially young people.
“I am driven by the passion to take OAFLA to the people. OAFLA prioritises the interests of young people,” she added.
The First Lady said the youths have potential to change the country, therefore, they must be given priority and the opportunity to showcase their talent and skills.
The first lady said the youths have potential to change the country, therefore, they must be given priority and space to showcase their talent and skills.
“Our premise is that, if we help young people to know their bodies, they will make good decisions that will benefit them in the present and in future. Good decisions that will help them ward off HIV and STIs as well as early and unplanned pregnancies.
“It is vital that players in the health sector in Malawi, led by government, ensure that as many places as possible, can offer youth-friendly sexual and reproductive services. Research indicates that our youth are struggling to access sexual reproductive services, as such this new knowledge must inspire us to take action and empower Malawi youth to fight back,” Mde. Mutharika said.
Furthermore, the OAFLA president said that “one of the most powerful weapons that we can employ in our fighting back, is investing in youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services.”
On hhis part, State President Peter Mutharika, who stormed the event venue with dancing antics to a song called “Undiberekere mwana”, asked the youths to set goals and have patience while chasing their dreams.
Mutharika, who said at a young boy wanted to become a soldier, reaffirmed his desire to see the youths making strides in different areas as a youth champions for Africa.
“What I can say is please work beyond your competitor and be ambitious. Above all be disciplined people and think positively on issues to do with your country.
“My government will not leave youths alone. Shortly we are expanding University loan programme so that we can accommodate as many youths at higher learning,” he said.
The president also took time to censure journalists who always write lies about Malawi, arguing such negative reporting is detrimental to the development of the country.
First Lady Mde. Gertrude Mutharika is also expected to have a similar interface meeting with youth in the Central and Northern regions. The Southern Region interactive session, attracted youth from all public and private universities, including youths from churches of all denominations.
The theme of the meeting was ‘Bridging Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Rights Gaps among the Youth in Malawi.