Malawian Health Leaders Pledge Commitments on Health and Youth on Eve of ICPD25
On October 30, 2019 Malawi’s Ministry of Health and Population, with support from HP+, hosted a national symposium in Lilongwe, where a broad group of stakeholders announced a series of 10 national commitments to improve health services for women, children, and youth—including commitments to harness the demographic dividend by investing in the country’s young people.
This event forming the backdrop to the commitments—ICPD at 25: Accelerating Malawi’s Promise—was convened to recognize the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development’s (ICPD’s) Programme of Action. Priority commitments made include reducing maternal mortality; reduction of gender-based violence and early and forced child marriages; reducing unmet contraceptive need; and harnessing the demographic dividend through investing in adolescents and youth employment, education, and health, as well as ensuring their access to comprehensive and age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health and rights information, education, and quality and timely services.
Attendees included the Honorable Dr. Ben Phiri, minister of local government and rural development who gave the keynote address on integrating population into development planning and harnessing the demographic dividend; and the director general of the National Planning Commission, Dr. Thomas Munthali. In his remarks, USAID Malawi mission director Littleton Tazewell emphasized the need for young people to access information. He affirmed the inclusion of young people in USAID Malawi’s upcoming strategic planning process. A youth focused pre-conference on the demographic dividend, included participation by youth champions trained by HP+.
Following the symposium, a smaller group including HP+, the Ministry of Health and Population–Reproductive Health Directorate, UNFPA, the National Youth Council of Malawi, and the African Institute for Development Policy refined the commitments in advance of the Nairobi Summit and discussed the intensification of efforts for the full, effective, and accelerated implementation and funding of the ICPD Programme of Action. Malawi’s 10 national commitments were presented at the Nairobi Summit: ICPD25 meeting held November 14-16.
HP+ was a member of the steering committee that planned the symposium and gave input into the planning, resource mobilization, and protocols to help shape the agendas and structure of the meeting. The ICPD Symposium brought together approximately 250 stakeholders from government, civil society, academia, religious and traditional leaders, and development partners, among others. HP+ showcased several policy and advocacy materials at the symposium.