JB opens maternity waiting home in Balaka: Gift of the Givers hands over an ambulance

President Joyce Banda on Monday opened a maternity waiting home and handed over an ambulance at Kalembo Health Centre in Balaka bringing total number of functional facilities to five.

The facility has been constructed courtesy of Huawei Technologies through the Joyce Banda Foundation while a minibus has been donated by Gift of the Givers Foundation.

President Banda launched the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood in April 2012 to act as a catalyst in a bid to improve uptake of maternal and neonatal health care thereby reducing mortality and morbidity currently at 460 per 100, 000 live births as stipulated in the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) 2013 report to 155 per 100, 000 live births in line with the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5.

The Initiative implements three major key interventions which are construction of maternity waiting homes, training of chiefs and community mobilization as well as training of community midwives.

JB unveils the plaque
JB unveils the plaque

Addressing masses that gathered at the opening ceremony Banda commended the private sector for its role in assisting the health sector as the country is striving to reduce deaths emanating from pregnancy.

“It should be noted that I am delighted to hand over both the home and an ambulance today to the facility with support from the private sector. It is pleasing to note the overwhelming response that the Initiative is getting from the cooperate world,” she said.

Banda said since the Initiative was established great strides have been achieved in the child and maternal sector.

She however, acknowledged infrastructure challenges in most health facilities in the country and urged all well wishers to play their part in solving the problem saying government alone cannot address all the challenges.

“Government is advocating for establishment of these facilities to accommodate women who stay in hard to reach areas so that they come and wait for delivery in the eight month to reduce the deaths arising from pregnancy complications while also promoting clean and safe delivery,” said Banda.

Taking his turn Deputy managing Director for Huawei Technologies Titus Tasosa said they feel obliged to partner with the President’s Initiative to fulfil commitment that has been shown by the President since she ascended to the high office.

“As a local company we keen to see the efforts that have been initiated by the President to achieve some of the MDGs being realised as far as reduction of morbidity and mortality rate is concerned in the country.

“We are particularly committed to assist the country in the area of constructing maternity waiting homes as they will go a long way in assisting pregnant mothers from long distant places, said Tasosa.

Tasosa said the company believes that the country needs to accelerate its efforts to achieve reduction of mortality rate so that no woman should die during delivery.

On his part Chairperson of Gift of Givers Abdul Gaffar Jakhura said as a company they would like to contribute meaning fully to the reduction of maternal deaths in the area as it faces an uphill task to send cases meant for referrals to the major hospital in the district.

“We realised that transportation is a major problem here at Kalembo Health Centre hence we saw it ideal to donate an ambulance worth K 4 million to the facility which we believe will contribute to the reduction of some of the problems that were faced,” said Jakhura.

During the same ceremony Gift of the Givers also donated 360 cases of Sibusiso high energy products valued at K 6 million which they said are vital to people suffering from HIV & Aids, cancer, TB and is also ideal for people looking to booster their health.

In his remarks Traditional Authority Kalembo said the facility served the population of 30, 000 hence need for extension.

The President’s Initiative aims to construct at least 130 maternity waiting homes across the country. Currently, eleven maternity waiting homes are at various stages while five have been completed.

JB receive keys for the ambulance from Kakhura
JB receive keys for the ambulance from Kakhura
JB hands over keys to Senior Chief Kwataine
JB hands over keys to Senior Chief Kwataine

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