By Lucius Gerald
Globally, it is difficult to know the exact number of births each day because not all births are recorded or recorded.
But, according to the United Nations (UN), it is estimated that around 385,000 babies are born every day worldwide, or 140 million a year.
This number will remain relatively stable in the 50 years from 2020 to 2070. From 2070 to 2100, the number will decrease to around 356,000 or 130 million per year (UN, 2022)
This year 2022, the population of Malawi is expected to increase by 613,224 people and reach 20,666,345 (20 million) by early 2023. The natural increase is expected to be positive as the number of births will exceed the number of deaths (NDS, 2022 ).
In Malawi, on average, about 2,175 babies are born per day (90.63 in one hour). As of January 1, 2022, the population of Malawi was estimated at 20,053,121 people (National Population Survey, 2022)
A report by Zodiak Broadcasting Station says Mzuzu Urban Health Center in Mapale is delivering at least 20 babies a day, as confirmed by one of the midwives working in the delivery room of the establishment.
Cumulatively, at least 600 babies are born every month in Mapale. Authorities at the health facility have expressed concern over the number of deliveries, saying it certainly puts more pressure on the hospital’s already limited resources.
Mapale acts as the district hospital for Mzuzu. It serves various areas including the densely populated Mchengautuwa, Chibavi, Mapale and Masasa.
Among the many factors that lead to a high birth rate in Malawi, low use of contraceptive methods tops the list. According to WHO (2010), it is only when a country advocates high uptake of family planning methods that there is a clear strong possibility that the population will stabilize for the benefit of all citizens.
Additionally, poverty plays a large role in the high birth rate as many poor families see having more children who they believe could get richer in the future, which is seen as a way out. of poverty.
Illiteracy is another cause of the high birth rate. Many studies have been conducted and only show that people who have no schooling are more likely to have many children than those who have schooled.
Months ago, Presidential Advisor on Safe Motherhood, Dorothy Ngoma, stressed the need to reduce our raw population in Malawi. She suggested that Malawi should have a policy that guides the cumulative number of children per household. In his suggestion, a total number of 2 children could be healthy and safer for each household.
From this health policy opinion, Ngoma sparked a wide range of debates in which many people weighed in their opinion on the whole “2 children per household” opinion.
Some chose not to accept it while others did. People have argued that health opinion seems to deny many families their right to choose. They said having many children is a natural choice and should be respected.
On the other side of the coin, some people supported the presidential adviser’s idea of safe motherhood. They pointed out that rising birth rates will overall put greater pressure on the meager resources available to Malawi. For example, they argued that due to the increase in population, it will be necessary to build more schools and hospitals to support the rapidly growing population.
In the respect due to the individual right to choose, it is also necessary to combine rights and responsibilities. Community members should find their own ways to raise their children safely at the household level and therefore help to reduce the population.
Overall, the government has a great responsibility to build health-related awareness regarding safe motherhood to reduce high birth rates. It is also necessary to provide and encourage the use of contraceptives so that citizens do not have to give birth in a tighter space between subsequent births.
Let’s love our green Malawi. Let’s love the health of our children.
The author is a finalist in nursing and midwifery at Mzuzu University.
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