India to assist JB’s safe motherhood campaign in Malawi

A  team of medical experts from the India government has committed itself to assist the Malawi government through The Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood realize its goal to fight down maternal and neonatal deaths through provision of training medical experts, resource mobilization and treatment of other diseases from pregnancy complication.

Dr. Devlina Chakravarty, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Artemis Medicare Services Limited made the remarks on Thursday 18 October 2012, at the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Secretariat in Lilongwe when she addressed a news conference at the end of her visit to Malawi.

“I commend President Banda for her initiative on safe motherhood. I understand many lives have been lost due to maternal complications and this initiative will reduce maternal deaths,” Dr. Chakravarty said.

Dr. Devlina Chakravarty flanked by Chief Kwataine and Dorothy Ngoma addresing a news conference

“The work that is being done to improve the reduction of maternal and neonatal deaths in the country is commendable. In India we were also in the similar situation but as of now we have managed to completely eliminate maternal and neonatal deaths,” she said.

“ For the fact that there is political will to accelerate and improvement on improving maternal and neonatal deaths in the country, there is need to assist the President to accelerate the attainment of the reduction of maternal deaths,” added Chakravarty.

As one of the poorest countries in the world, 40% of its population is living below the poverty line and Malawi is at the epicentre of the HIV and AIDS epidemic with a prevalence rate of 12% which shows little evidence of declining. Of the estimated 900,000 people infected with HIV, approximately 56% and 23% are women and children respectively.

“In India we had the very same situation but later on we lobbied other partners and changed some of the laws particularly the marriage age. As of now the maternal mortality rate has significantly decreased due to the role that communities’ leaders played,” disclosed Chakravarty.

She said when we go back we will mobilize for support which would assist in training of medical experts in areas of fistula and availability of equipment to reduce the maternal mortality rate in the country.

Taking his turn Chairperson for The Presidential Initiative, Senior Chief Kwataine commended the Indian delegation for committing itself complement efforts that are already being initiated by the President.

“There is need for various partnerships to be set up so that we can benefit from them mainly in the areas of resource mobilization and capacity building of the medical experts mainly in the areas of fistula among others,” he added.

On her part National Coordinator for the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Dorothy Ngoma, believes the partnership with the Indian government is a significant development.

“ Although we are taking strides to completely end maternal and neonatal deaths we need a lot of support from well wishers, donors and the cooperate world. The coming of the team will assist in various areas and we need to praise them for their commitment.

“It has always been our commitment to increase the numbers of the trained medical personnel and secure medical equipment which is inadequate in the country,” said Ngoma.

Their coming to Malawi would complement our shortfalls to improve maternal health situation in the country, disclosed Ngoma.

The team has been in the country to follow up and treat patients who were referred to Indian Hospitals for surgeries in the areas of heart and cancer problems.

Currently, Malawi is one of the countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios globally estimated at 675 per 100, 000 live births.

About  16 women die every day while giving birth or due to other pregnancy complications in Malawi. About 56% of the maternal deaths occur in the Southern Region, 26% in the Central and 17% in the Northern Region of the country.

On April 25, 2012 President Joyce Banda set up Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood with an aim of accelerating the reduction of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality which is in tandem  with Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5.

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