Mary Robinson, Chairperson of Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health (GLC) and former President of Ireland, Vaira Vike-Freiberga former Latvian Presiden and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka former Vice President of the Republic of South Africa, both members of GLC, left Malawi on Friday impressed by strides made by the Joyce Banda administration to curb high maternal mortality rate.
Robinson said the council members were “highly impressed by the incredible efforts by the new administration in ensuring safe motherhood and maternal health”.
The Global Leaders Council has made a commitment to support the Banda administration in mobilizing resources for girls’ secondary education, construction of health infrastructure, training of community midwives, chiefs and communities in maternal health and linking issues of maternal health to poverty alleviation and social development.
President Banda thanked the Global Leaders Council and the whole delegation “for a very successful visit to Malawi”.
She said she appreciates the “constructive dialogue and discussions” that they had with the council members over a range of issues including presidential consultation on maternal health, the Council’s Board Meeting, the learning visit to Senior Chief Kwataine in Ntcheu and the launch of the Cash Transfer Programme in Balaka.
“I am sure you found the site visit to Kwataine and Balaka insightful of the eagerness of the Malawian people to improve their situation, their warmth and eagerness to learn,” she said.
During the tour of Senior Chief Kwataine’s Community Safe Motherhood Projects at Madzanje Headquarters, Ntcheu, on Thursday, President Banda told the Council members that Chiefs play a pivotal role in their local community, including the calling and chairing of meetings, formulation and enforcement of by-laws within their jurisdiction, and mobilizing their communities for development activities.
“This is one of the areas in the country where the Traditional Chief, who also happens to be the Chair of the Chiefs Council for the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood, has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt how Chiefs can play a leading role to encourage their subjects to access and utilize quality maternal and health care delivery services.
“Under the Initiative, issues of maternal and neonatal health, Family Planning, HIV and AIDS Care Support as well as Sexual and Reproductive Health rights have been incorporated into chiefs’ roles.”
President Banda said through the mobilization and training of Chiefs, who act as opinion leaders in their local areas, whole communities can be educated and mobilized, encouraging community participation and accelerating behaviour change.
She said through the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood local leaders and their communities are being mobilized and sensitized on issues of maternal and neonatal health care to encourage pregnant women access quality health care services and deliver at hospitals.
“To win this fight, we need to combine this grassroots work with the global leadership that our guests here today provide. Working together we can make sure that no woman dies while giving birth to another life,” the President concluded.
During the tour, Senior Chief Kwataine briefed the visitors and the President the various interventions being implemented to curb high cases of maternal deaths, including family planning services.
Social Cash Transfer Programme
Later, the visitors accompanied President Banda when she presided over the launch of the Social Cash Transfer and Clean Cook Stove Programmes in Balaka.
The Social Cash Transfer program provides direct financial support to the 10 percent lowest ultra-poor group of the people in order to alleviate their suffering by economically empowering them.
“The Social Cash Transfer Program is not a handout but an empowerment process, which moves the beneficiaries out of poverty; assists them to protect the sale of assets; and thereby enable them become economically independent,” said President Banda.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :