Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood and Maternal Health chairperson Senior Chief Kwataine returned from a week-long visit to the United States of America where he attended a star-studded conference focusing on women across the globe, featuring appearances by celebrity Oprah Winfrey, actress Meryl Streep and US former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
Kwataine also had an opportunity to have a one on one meeting with Oprah Winfrey and took the opportunity to brief her on the challenges facing Malawi in maternal health.
In the conversation, the chief also touched on the need for more support in girls education, saying there is a link between early marriages and maternal death in those girls who marry at an early age are losing lives during childbirth (ages 13-21).
Chief Kwataine told Oprah Winfrey “it has been proven that girls that stay in school longer and give birth in their mid-twenties have a better chance of giving birth safely.”
He extended an invitation to Oprah Winfrey to visit Malawi and look at areas where she can support in girls education but also mentor them as a role model to encourage them to stay in school and avoid early marriages.
During his presentation, Senior Chief Kwataine told the conference delegates that Malawi is making progress in addressing maternal health and that the political will, community mobolisation, training of midwives and construction of shelters for expectant women have all contributed to the success of the Presidential Initiative on maternal health and safemotherhood.
“We know what needs to be done; we have seen what works, what doesn’t work and what is more effective, all we require now is support to implement our programmes. What we need are partners to bring down the maternal mortality rate,” he told the summit.
Senior Chief Kwataine has spent the past year since the launch of the Presidential Initiative on Safemotherhood and Maternal Health by President Joyce Banda on April 25th 2012 mobolising communities in Malawi , raising awareness and advocating on safe motherhood.
In the last six months he has trained over 1000 traditional leaders in different parts of Malawi on family planning, nutrition, HIV/Aids and postnatal/antenatal care for mothers.