Addressing stigma while moving a national campaign: Spotlight on Malaw

Addressing stigma while moving a national campaign: Spotlight on Malawi

Posted June 4, 2019
by inroads Comms, with Andrew Mdala, Boniface Mbewe, Francis Makiya and Mackson Harawa

In this Spotlight, Mackson Harawa, Francis Makiya, Boniface Mbewe and Andrew Mdala, four inroads members, tell us more about the barriers or stigma that still need to be addressed in addition to fighting for legal reform in Malawi.

Although some liberal religious clerics and communities have given a nod to the need for a reform of the abortion law in Malawi, what are the many other socio-cultural obstacles that are yet to be combatted?

Boniface Mbewe (Chipembere Community Development Organization– CCDO): In Malawi there are still many socio-cultural obstacles hindering access to safe abortion services in health facilities. These obstacles include: condemnation emanating from cultural and religious beliefs as the person undergoing the abortion is perceived as sinner. For instance, some believe that abortion is an act carried out by non-believers, sex workers and promiscuous girls in the society; attitude, stigma and discrimination among health service providers towards the people seeking abortion or post-abortion care services also prevent women from seeking services; the legal implications associated with current laws around safe abortion do not necessitate the availability and accessibility of the services to those in need of them. The cost of abortion services and distance to get them (pre-and post-abortion services) are some of the challenge women are facing in Malawi.