JB pledges to construct more maternity units in Malawi: Safemotherhood

Women and children in Malawi suffer disproportionately from higher disease burden than other population groups, leading to high maternal, neonatal and child mortality, President Joyce Banda has said.

Speaking when she officially laid a foundation stone for a Maternity Clinic at Billy Riordan Clinic at Cape Maclear, Mangochi District on Sunday, President Banda said, however, as a country, Malawi was making some strides in maternal and child health indicators.

“Comparably, we have tremendously achieved a lot in child health especially in immunizations where according to the Demographic and Health Survey 2010, eight in every ten children less than 24 months are immunized. The under-five child mortality has also reduced from 133 to 112 per 1000 population.

“Whereas on maternal health, Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2010 indicates that maternal mortality ratio has reduced from 984 per 100,000 live births in 2004 to 675 per 100,000 live births in 2010. This can be simply translated that about 10 to 12 women still die every day due to pregnancy related complications,” observed the President.

JB holds a newly-born baby and talks to the mother

The Head of State said the laying a foundation stone of a maternity clinic there was one of the most important exercises as she continues to promote safe motherhood and maternal health.

“My government is committed to ensuring that most facilities that are far away from referral centres should at least have a maternity clinic to promote safe delivery in our communities.

“I have the hope that this initiative will contribute positively to the welfare of women of reproductive age group who will be the primary beneficiaries of the maternity clinic,” said Banda, noting that women face a lot of challenges from pregnancy until delivery. One such challenge is the availability of necessary services during their antenatal and delivery period.

She said Government will ensure that most of the remote health facilities have maternity services and that she is personally supporting the Community Midwives Initiative, which directly responds to the construction of a maternity wing in most of the remote and faraway places.

The President said the responsibility to make women achieve a better life does not only rest with Government alone but also families who are central to this decision.

“I would therefore encourage you all to make decisions that will improve your health and that of your families and not decisions that will endanger your life,” she said.

Opened in 2004, the Billy Riordan Memorial provides essential and life-saving care for a community of 7,600 and treats between 15,000 and 16,000 out patients per year.

The clinic was constructed by the Riordan family from Dublin, Ireland, in honour of their son, Billy, who loved to visit the Cape Maclear and drowned during one of his vacations in 2002 in Lake Malawi.

JB shakes hands with Dr. Mlia Mulanje DHO after unveiling a plaque
JB talks to a young patient
JB lays a brick to symbolize the launch of the project

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