International Alliance for Patients Organisation (IAPO) has called on the government and its stakeholders in the health sector to intensify efforts in ensuring equal access to quality maternal healthcare services among female inmates.
IAPO Country Representative Ellos Lodzeni lamented that female inmates continue lacking antenatal care, a development he said exposes them to high risks during child delivery.
Lodzeni, who is also the founder for the Patients and Community Welfare Foundation (PAWEM), made the remarks in an interview with Nyasa Times, as Malawi joined the international community in commemorating this year’s World Patients Safety Day, which falls on 17th September every year.
“Most of our prisons do not offer maternal and postpartum health care service. There are no conducive sanitary facilities to pregnant women. The meals which are offered are also not nutritious enough for expectant mothers,” he said.
In a separate interview, Chikwawa Prison Officer-in-Charge Superintendent Francis Kwapata concurred with Lodzeni.
However, Kwapata attributed the prison’s failure to provide basic maternal care to female inmates to resource constraints.
However, Deputy Director of Reproductive Health in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Gift Phiri, said the government is always committed in improving provision of maternal care services in the country’s prison.
Phiri added that remarkable progress has been registered in the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality rate to around 439 per every 100, 000 live births unlike previously when the figure was about 687 per every 100, 000 births, as a sign for government commitment.
World Patients Safety Day is commemorated to enhance global understanding on patients’ safety and increase public engagement on health care safety to reduce avoidable harm in healthcare.
Activities to mark commemorations of this year’s World Patients Safety Day were held on Friday 17th September in Chikwawa district under the theme: “Together for safe and respectful maternal and newborn care”.