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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday called for rapid and effective solutions so that young Mozambicans may have a more responsible sexual and reproductive life.
He was speaking in Maputo at the ceremony where he swore into office Maria Isabel Manga as Director of the Office of the First Lady. Under Nyusi’s wife, Isaura Nyusi, the First Lady’s Office has played a prominent role in the fight against child marriage, gender-based violence, and the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The President said one of the permanent challenges facing the government is the sexual and reproductive life of young people, particularly of girls. He urged Manga to pay particular attention to issues such as family planning.
Women, he added, should decide how many children they wanted and when. “More than simply bearing children, it is important that they grow up strong and healthy”, Nyusi stressed, “and so it is of great importance to invest in good dietary habits”.
Attention must be paid, he said, to questions of nutrition and food security, and combating the illnesses that arise from a poor diet.
He also called for an effective response to domestic violence, to child marriage and unwanted pregnancies, and to the consequent high school dropout rate among teenage girls.
“As Director of the office, it is your task to ensure that these missions, and others that the First Lady decides to undertake, are carried out in good time and with the desired impact”, Nyusi said.
Manga said she was aware of the challenges facing her, and promised to do all in her power to combat gender-based violence and child marriage.
“Since it is a major concern of the government, I shall work to ensure that girls stay at school”, she pledged. “We cannot allow girls to drop out of school early, since we could be undermining the entire country”.
Prior to taking up this position, Manga was the Provincial Director of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, in the southern province of Inhambane.Source: AIM