Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr. Jean Kalirani, says government is concerned with increased number of teenage girls indulging in sexual activities hence exposing themselves to early pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
Speaking Friday during a World Population Day commemoration event in Senior Chief Kachindamoto’s area in Dedza, Kalirani said 44 percent of teenage girls are indulging into sex with grown up men while another 52 percent are entering into marriages.
“These problems are putting lives of girls in danger of contracting sexually transmitted infections or getting pregnancies at a tender age thereby increasing morbidity and mortality rates amongst them,” she said.
The commemoration was being observed under a theme: “Investing in teenage girls.”
Kalirani said the theme was relevant to Malawi in view of various problems girls in the country are going through such as defilement, forced marriages, inadequate access to education and harmful cultural practices.
“As a nation the theme should help us reflect deeply on these challenges and discover solutions together in order to uplift girls so that they can contribute meaningfully to the development of this country,” she said.
She said government has put in place various measures to ensure girls get education.
“We are unrelenting in efforts to promote girl education through providing an enabling environment in schools as well as building hostels for girls. We also have a school re-admission policy in place to let girls who dropped out of school due to various reasons go back school,” she said.
Kalirani commended Senior Chief Kachindamoto who recently broke up a number of child marriages in her area and dethroned two Group Village Heads for entertaining such marriages in their villages.
Speaking earlier, United States (US) Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, said girls need to get education to be empowered and realize their full potential adding her government will continue supporting the education sector in the country.