Last week, I was in Africa in the Republic of Malawi at the invitation of the European Parliamentary Forum, visit facilitated by Family Planning Association of Malawi. I visited hospitals, rural communities, talked to members of the Parliament, officials from the Ministry of Health and civil society representatives.
Malawi is facing serious demographic problems. You’ll say that we face the same issue in Romania. Yes, we do. Our country is struggling with labour shortages as a result of declining birth rates, a rapidly ageing population and emigration. This increases the pressure on the active population to support public services and infrastructure. In Malawi the population is growing, making it hard for the authorities to handle the pressure on public services which, for economic reasons, have not kept up.
Both Romania and Malawi face, even if on a different scale, common problems: teenage pregnancies, school dropouts, schools not doing enough to provide young people with information on reproductive health and family planning, underperforming and underfunded health system, access to public services in rural areas is very limited.
The authorities in Malawi are making visible efforts despite very big challenges such as the COVID pandemic or Cyclone Freddy.
The involvement of civilians in Malawi is the backbone of solving these problems. I was happy to see volunteers, medical staff, motivated young people, how they work day by day with NGOs to cover all these gaps. Special thanks to Youth Wave Malawi.
I am convinced that young people are the most credible, the most able to understand and support each other. They represent the largest part of the population and also the future. I think their energy, motivation and involvement will bring the much-desired balance to society and really make a difference.