JB opens maternal waiting home in Mulanje

President Joyce Banda on Thursday officially opened a magnificent K19m maternity at Mulanje district hospital built with financial support from the Standard Bank.

The 32- bedroom maternity dubbed ‘waiting home’ is part of the fruits of the Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood Programme championed by the Banda administration aimed at reducing maternal related deaths.

“I vowed in 1984 when I experienced firsthand a complicated childbirth that I will dedicate my life to saving the lives of fellow women, it is my passion and I will do everything possible to safeguard the lives of expectant women across Malawi, “said President Banda.

The Malawi leader said her government is committed to achieving some of the millennium development goals one of which is the reduction of maternal related deaths.

She said since she took over office in April this year, reduction of maternal deaths has been one of her priorities considering that she is also a mother who has undergone the experiences mothers are currently facing.

President Banda with expectant mothers at the Mulanje shelter.-Photo courtesy of Living Kalimanjira

Banda said provision of better infrastructure for expectant mothers was ideal to ensuring that no woman delivers at home.

President Banda said Mulanje is where she did her secondary education and it is densely populated hence the need for the shelter in the district could not be overemphasized.

“This is where I went to school and I want everyone to know that there is a connection between education and safe motherhood because if you look at the statistics many of the girls that die suring childbirth are between the ages of 13 and 20, the bottom line is that these girls are not ready to give birth, their bodies still need to mature.

“I am therefore asking girls to stay in school, get an education, don’t rush for marriage and parents don’t pressure girls to get married, allow them to get educated.”

She therefore commended the private sector such as the Standard Bank for partnering with her government’s decision of working towards reduction of maternal deaths through improvement of infrastructure for pregnant women to get good medical services.

President Banda urged the District Health Office to take care of the facility and continue offering better services for mothers and all the people adding that communities need to make good use of the facility.

“You have this facility; why should I hear of stories that some are delivering at home,” she asked.

In his speech, Chairperson for Standard Bank, Alex Chitsime said his organization decided to assist government in safe motherhood promotion as one way of instilling hope of life in pregnant women who are reportedly dying in large numbers because of pregnancy related complications.

“Statistics indicate that out of 100,000 births 675 mothers die of pregnancy related complications of which 112 children are lost in the same way,” explained Chitsime.

Chitsime said similar constructions of maternity waiting homes by his organization have been done in Dedza and Chintheche in Nkhatabay.

Deputy Minister of Health Halima Daudi said her Ministry is committed to doing everything possible to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Malawi to meet the millineum development goals in 2015.

“ My ministry will ensure that we put up the necessary infrastructure so that our mothers have access to quality healthcare.”

JB laid a foundation stone for the building on 30th May, 2012 in Mulanje.

There are seven shelters being constructed simultaneously in various parts of Malawi and the initiative is targeting to build a total of 130.–(Additional reporting by Mana)

JB with one of the mothers.-Photo courtesy of Living Kalimanjira
Inside the shelter.-Photo courtesy of Living Kalimanjira
The Mulanje shelter.-Photo courtesy of Living Kalimanjira
President Bank talking to a mum to be.-Photo courtesy of Living Kalimanjira
President Banda with the mothers.-Photo courtesy of Living Kalimanjira
President Banda cutting the ribbon.-Photo courtesy of Living Kalimanjira
President Banda launching the shelter.-Photo courtesy of Living Kalimanjira
Mulanje shelter.-Photo courtesy of Living Kalimanjira

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