JB opens maternity home in Dowa: Pushes for higher Safe motherhood agenda in Malawi

 President Joyce Banda on Tuesday opened the  36-bed Dowa Maternity Waiting Home  near the district hospital with a call to all expecting mothers to report to the hospital in time for safe delivery.

The maternity waiting Home has been constructed with funds from Limbe Leaf Tobbaco at the tune of K19 million.

Maternal Mortality Rate

President Banda noted that the construction of Waiting Homes for expectant women will address the maternal mortality rate. She said it is not right for mothers to die while giving birth.

“No woman should die while giving life to another,” charged President Banda at Dowa District Football Ground where activities marking the opening of the Waiting Home took Place.

President Banda with Limbe Leaf chair Prof Mathews Chikaonda and other officials

President Banda with Limbe Leaf chair Prof Mathews Chikaonda, MD Rod Hagger and other officials

President Banda told the gathering that so far Malawi with the interventions she has put in place is doing very well though not enough.

She  said: “Last year in April the Maternal Mortality rate was 675 per 100,000 and right now we are at 460 per 100,000, this is quite remarkable but we can do better. My hope is to go as far as 350 so that we meet the Millennium Development not  Goals by 2015.”

Limbe Leaf Tobacco

Managing Director for Limbe Leaf Rod Hagger said his organization partnered with President Banda after noting that the President was putting so much emphasis on Safe Motherhood.

He said his company built the Home to support the president’s agenda and also as one way of giving back to the Nation.

“We receive a lot business from people of Dowa and this is one of the ways we can show our appreciation” said Hagger.

Hagger also said Limbe Leaf is also building school blocks in the district.

At the same function Pharmanova Malawi gave assorted medical drugs and delivery kits to President Banda.

Pharmanova’s Marketing Manager, Peter Makwana said his company will give over two hundred delivery kits to Dowa to help women have safe delivery.

Progress report

The Chairperson of the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe motherhood,  Senior Chief Kwataine  reported that there are 13 waiting homes being constructed at various stages but six of those have been completed.

He said the homes have all been constructed with support from the private sector.

Chief Kwataine also told the crowd that there are about 200 girls in nursing colleges being trained as professional midwives.

” Our focus has been community mobilisation  through the chiefs, training of midwives  and  constructions of the shelters, these interventions have worked,” he said.

In her remarks, the Deputy Minister of Health Halima Daudi called upon health workers to assist patience with care.

Daudi also thanked President Banda for her effort to help with the drug shortage in hospitals the last few months.

“Thank you very much Your Excellency for your personal effort by making personal appeals to your global network to deal with this problem, I am pleased to report that we now have adequate drugs in the hospitals.”

Malawi hopes to reduce the maternal mortality rate to about 350 out of 100,000 to meet the millennium development goals by 2015.

Zambian visitor

Wife to Zambian Vice President Charlotte Scott attended the function. It was not immediately clear if the Mrs. Scott had solely come to Malawi to attend the launch of the maternity waiting Home or she had come for other errands.

Vice President Khumbo Kachali and other senior government officers also  attended the opening.

President Banda addressing the people soon after opening the Maternity  waiting shelter in Dowa

President Banda addressing the people soon after opening the Maternity waiting shelter in Dowa

President Banda arriving at Dowa District Hospital

President Banda arriving at Dowa District Hospital

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