UNFPA Gender Analyst Joseph Kazima has disclosed that cases of gender based violence (GBV) increased tremendously during the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
Kazima made the remarks during a two-day media orientation, which UNFPA organized for Media Network on Population and Development (MENPODE) in Salima.
He said pre-existing toxic social norms and gender inequalities, economic and social stress caused by the pandemic coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures have led to an increase in GBV.
"Many women were in lock down at home with their abusers while being cut off from normal support services, a situation which led to an increase in GBV," said.
According to him, harmful practices like early marriages and teenage pregnancies have been a real issue with 40, 0000 child marriages reported in 2020.
He added that school closure has increased dropouts among young people and given a rise in child labour.
He therefore urged the media to prioritize issues of GBV in their reporting so that the nation gets informed of the issues surrounding GBV's.
MENPODE chairperson Rabecca Chimjeka said the media will ensure to highlight GBV stories in their various channels.
"It is our role as media to sensitize the public on issues surrounding GBV in order for them to be aware and stay safe.
"The media will help to change the perception of the public through stories and programmes using different outlets," Chimjeka said.