In a bid to increase skilled attendance at birth the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood has graduated 66 Community Midwifery Assistants (CMA’s) during the 39th graduation ceremony that was held at St Lukes College of Nursing of the Anglican Upper Diocese in Malosa, Zomba.
This was the third and fourth group to complete their studies at the institution since its inception. This brings total number of trained CMAs to 392 following others that graduated other Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) colleges.
Minister of Health Dr Peter Kumpalume hailed the Safe Motherhood Initiative for introducing the programme which aims at increasing the rate of skilled and trained midwives at community level in the country.
“This type programme of training community midwives is unique in its kind simply because it aims to equip young women and girls with knowledge and delivery skills at community level where there is heavy demand of skilled human resource but also many people do not prefer to work in those facilities”, said Kumpalume.
He added, we need to continue approaching various partners to support us with these type of trainings as one way of equipping our rural facilities with skilled personnel.
On his part principal secretary for the Safe Motherhood Chimwemwe Chipungu described the training as a positive move to empower the youth with skills.
“I am optimistic that the group will make a difference with regard to the imbalance between the health workforce and patients hence appealed to the graduates to have pride and enthusiasm as the health sector aims to change the negative perception that clients have regarding the behaviour of the health workforce.
“Allow me to commend our partners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the University of North Carolina (U.N.C) and the Freedom from Fistula Foundation for the unwavering support rendered to these CMAs graduating today. We are hopeful that this cadre will make a difference when they will be deployed to the hard to reach areas in their communities where most cadres do not want to go and work,” he said.
Currently, Malawi is one of the countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios globally 675/ 100 000 live births.
Taking her turn CHAM Board Chairperson Father Peter Mulomole commended support they are getting from the government and other donor partners.
“We are committed to contribute to the meaningful development of the health sector in the country in a quest to improve the numbers of trained health personnel and we are so thankful to the government and other partners. It is our hope that these graduates will make a difference wherever they will be deployed and we urge them to work hard with dedication,” he said.
During the event Safe Motherhood also gave out bicycles and medical equipment to the outgoing 66 students. These include stethoscopes and thermometers among others.
Following graduation, the community midwifery assistants will be deployed by Government in rural health facilities from districts where the midwives were picked. Additionally, the midwives shall be bonded for at least 2 years with some form of incentives and Government shall make available positions for this cadre.
The Initiative plans to train at least 1000 community midwives in a bid to improve skilled attendance at birth as one way of reducing escalating deaths emanating from delivery complications. Currently, 392 students have already been trained in various nursing training institutions in the country.
Through the new cadre, the Initiative seeks to promote health seeking behavior and attitudes of the communities towards Family Planning (FP), reduced pregnancy, delivery complications and encourage girl child education.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :