The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give more support to Malawi’s initiative to reduce maternal mortality, Melinda Gates said on Wednesday in the capital Lilongwe after meeting President Joyce Banda.
Gates, the co-founder and co-chairperson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told journalists after meeting President Banda in her second visit to the impoverished southern African country that she was impressed with the progress made by Malawi in reducing maternal mortality — death during or soon after pregnancy – which is among the highest in the world.
She said while in the country she visited one of the projects and seen “good progress”, saying “I’m impressed with how things are being done.”
Gates said she plans to raise more investment in reducing maternal deaths in Malawi, disclosing that she had agreed with President Banda to send her officers to Malawi in January to help in family planning issues.
President Banda said Melinda Gates will continue to assist Malawi in building guardian shelters in some hospitals and improve agriculture sector.
“As you are aware that in Malawi about 675 women die every year while giving birth and that Malawi is the second country in Africa which has the highest maternal mortality rate.
“Championing family planning goes hand in hand with involvement of chiefs on the grass root level who will help in sensitizing people in their respective villages,” Banda said.
President Banda said the visit by Gates to Malawi “will help us educate these chiefs as well as nurses on safe motherhood. Once the chiefs are educated, they will also educate their subjects thereby reducing mortality rate in the country.”
Presidential Initiative on Safe motherhood and Maternal Health was established to ensure that no woman dies of maternal complications during delivery.