60 Malawi chiefs gather for workshop on safe motherhood in Ntcheu

About 60 chiefs from various parts of the country have gathered in Malawi’s Central district of Ntcheu for a workshop on maternal health and Safe motherhood.

The participants to the two-day workshop which started Thursday drawn from all districts in the country have been assembled by the Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood, Child and Maternal Deaths.

They will discuss various aspects of maternal health like the governments roles and progress on maternal and child health; contributing factors to high maternal and neonatal deaths at family and community levels; they will also be monitoring and evaluating maternal and child health.

The chiefs are also expected to visit and share experiences with Safemotherhood committees that have been set up in the district in the areas of Bula and Madzanja villages.

Deputy minister Daudi with chiefs attending the training

Speaking during the opening ceremony deputy minister of health, Halima Daudi, appealed to the Traditional leaders to ensure that women in their respective areas give birth in the hospitals.

“Chiefs are influential leaders as they command respect from their subjects, therefore using their mandate they can spearhead public awareness on various developmental issues.

“In this regard, may I advise chiefs across the country to also incorporate issues of safe motherhood, child and maternal deaths in their regular community meetings,” said Daudi.

Daudi said it is sad that there are still some women who prefer to give birth in the villages with traditional birth attendants who cannot assist them adequately during complications.

“I am impressed with the work that has been done so far in Safemotherhood, things are moving in the right direction and we know that the maternal mortality rate in Malawi will drop significantly,” she said.

Daudi said Malawi’s maternal mortality ratio is at 675/100,000, meaning that the country loses 10 to 12 women daily due to maternal related deaths.

“Government alone cannot manage to reduce this ratio and if we are to achieve Millennium Goal Number five, which stipulates that Malawi has to attain 165/100,000 maternal mortality ratio by 2015, then there is need for well collaborated efforts by various stakeholders including chiefs to contribute towards safe motherhood initiatives at all levels,” said the Deputy Minister.

She attributed the high maternal mortality ratio to factors such as unwillingness of expectant mothers to deliver at designated health facilities adding that this could be checked if chiefs make by-laws to encourage expectant women to be delivering in the health facilities.

Chairperson of the initiative Senior Chief Kwataine welcomed the Chiefs and asked them to pay attention to the discussions so that they are fully equipped with knowledge and share with their subjects back home.

“I am encouraging you all to listen and take back with you knowledge on this subject because this is the only way we can save the lives of women and children, that should be our priority,” said Chief Kwataine

National Coordinator of the initiative Mrs. Dorothy Ngoma gave a brief report on the progress made so far on construction of shelters for expectant mothers.

He said the works is progressing well and so far about 200 midwives are undergoing training. She assured the chiefs that her office will continue working closely with them so that the lives of women and children can be saved.

“My office will work day and night so that together we can protect the lives of our mothers and children, no woman should die giving life,” she said.

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