Teenage pregnancies and marriages on the rise in Malawi due to Covid-19 pandemic

It is now an open secret that more teenagers in the country are getting married or falling pregnant due to closure of schools in March this year in the face of Covid-19 pandemic.

A snapshot survey conducted in the districts of Mangochi, Lilongwe and Rumphi have revealed that more primary and secondary school going girls are getting married or falling pregnant due to idleness in their communities.

At Mweyeye primary School in Rumphi West, for instance, official information indicates that in standard 7 class all girls but one have gotten married or fallen pregnant.

And in Lilongwe, a head teacher for Chigodi Community Day Secondary School, Mr Gladson Mankhambo, says the number of girls who have fallen pregnant or gotten married can be more than what is recorded because others operate far areas where they may not easily be traced.

Mr Mankhambo said: “Because of the closure of schools due Covid-19, we have been meeting challenges; especially with the girls students. Some of them have been impregnated. And the number of those who have been impregnated is twelve. But this is the information that we have as of now. But we believe that the number can be more than this because some of the girls students live very far from here, so we cannot have the information of all the girls.”

However, school health and nutrition coordinator in the area, Joseph Kanyangala, says the government is aware of the issue hence the introduction of online learning.

“Government is doing is best. So far, it has introduced an online learning whereby learners can access their education through that platform,” said Mr Kanyangala.

Meanwhile, several stakeholders on education are playing different roles in making sure students in country remain safe until schools reopen.

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