JB closes workshop on safemotherhood: Urges chiefs to have peoples interest at heart

President Joyce Banda Saturday said she would only help chiefs who have the welfare and the interest of their people at heart.

Banda said this at Ncheu Boma when she closed a two day workshop for chiefs on Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood, Child and Maternal Deaths which she initiated six months ago. Participating in the workshop were chiefs drawn from all districts in the country.

The president said if the chiefs just stay idle waiting for her to contact them on development issues, then they will not get any help from her because she will not be aware of the problems the chiefs and their villagers face.

“If a chief is dull then I will not be able to help him or her as I will not know what they are going through as such I will only help those chiefs who are interested in the welfare of their people.

She also advised other chiefs to emulate the progress made by the newly installed Senior Chief Kwataine in reducing maternal deaths in villages under his jurisdiction.

Chiefs who participated in safemotherhood course

“I have to thank you Chief Kwataine for what you are doing in your villages in reducing maternal deaths, I am very impressed and I just hope all of you chiefs will emulate this and that by the end of this year every chief will have done something about maternal deaths.

I believe this workshop will really help you chiefs because you are chiefs from all over the country and this shows that you have also learnt a lot from each other,” she said.

The president said, “I have ended the spirit of leaving chiefs in the dark in terms of utilization of project finances that come to their areas. I want to fight against inequality by involving the chiefs as owners of the projects.

She also advised the leaders of the Safe Motherhood initiative to include capacity development for chiefs in their strategic plan so that they (chiefs) were given resources to train their colleagues and subjects.

In his remarks the chairperson for the safe motherhood foundation, Chief Kwataine commended the president for supporting the initiative and encouraged fellow chiefs to get committed in reducing maternal deaths in the country.

60 chiefs attended the two day workshop together with district commissioners and medical personnel. Theme for the workshop was: “Roles of chiefs in eradicating maternal deaths.”

When she opened the workshop Deputy Minister of Health, Halima Daudi said, “Chiefs are influential leaders as they command respect from their subjects and by using their mandate, they can spearhead public awareness creation 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,” she advised.

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 5, which stipulates that Malawi has to attain 165/100,000 maternal mortality ratio by 2015, then there is need for well corroborated efforts by various stakeholders including chiefs to contribute towards safe motherhood initiatives at all levels,” said the deputy minister.

The deputy minister of health 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.

President Banda closing the sfaemotherhood course

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