Amref targets 40 000 Machinga women on sanitary facilities construction 

Amref Health Africa in Malawi is constructing sanitary facilities in Machinga District targeting over 40 000 women to address Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)  challenges so that we may contribute to the reduction of maternal and neonatal deaths.

Construction work

According to WASH Programme Manager for Amref Health Africa in Malawi Young Samanyika the facilities are being constructed at all four health centers in the district.

The four health centers are Machinga, Mangamba, Mkwepere and Ngokwe.

“At each health centre, Amref Health Africa in Malawi is installing 10,000 litre water tanks as well as constructing placenta pits and toilets for patients and members of staff. Crucially, one toilet each for males and females both will be disability friendly,” said Samanyika.

He said that the construction works started in June 2018 and are expected to end in mid-September 2018.

“At the moment,” said Samanyika, “expectant women and those who have just given birth are using sanitary facilities which are in a very poor state or there are none at all. Some facilities have no water supply whatsoever.”

The 2015/16 Malawi Demographic Health Survey indicates a steady decline in pregnancy-related deaths from 675 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2010 to 497 deaths.

Dzinkambani says there is need to build on this “considerable achievement” to further bring down that number of maternal deaths.

“Without clean water and basic sanitation, a woman’s ability to fight infection is compromised. Imagine how difficult it would be to prevent infection during a Caesarean -section, cord-cutting and the healing process after birth if there was no clean water or toilets at a health facility?” she asks.

Studies show that without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, women face numerous health risks in pregnancy, during childbearing and after giving birth. Contaminated water and unsanitary conditions expose them to diarrhoea and other infections that account for over half of the patients in the country’s clinics. Women and girls also encounter violence as they endure long walks in search of water.

Recently through the local media, Oxfam governance programme manager Lusungu Dzinkambani called for interventions that recognise and treat water, sanitation and hygiene as complex factors that affect a woman’s health—not a separate problem from maternal health.

The 2015/16 Malawi Demographic Health Survey indicates a steady decline in pregnancy-related deaths from 675 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2010 to 497 deaths.

Dzinkambani says there is need to build on this “considerable achievement” to further bring down that number of maternal deaths.

“Without clean water and basic sanitation, a woman’s ability to fight infection is compromised. Imagine how difficult it would be to prevent infection during a Caesarean -section, cord-cutting and the healing process after birth if there was no clean water or toilets at a health facility?” she asks.

The facilities are constructed under the organisation’s Deliver Life project which is funded by UKAid and WaterAid.

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