White Ribbon in QED Reproductive project in Dowa
By Vincent Gunde
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Malawi (WRASM Malawi), will implement a Quality, Equity and Dignified (QED), Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Care project in 9 districts of the country including Dowa.
The project, currently funded by USAID as a sub guarantee of Health Policy Plus, will be rolled out in districts such as Blantyre, Chitipa, Dowa, Dedza, Kasungu, Mangochi, Mulanje, Mzuzu and Zomba.
In 2016, the organisation surveyed the county’s health facilities which revealed that there are only 3,420 practicing midwives in Malawi, a development which is worrisome and requires urgent attention by all.
The organisation’s Safe Motherhood National Coordinator, Nancy Kamwendo, said the project is aiming to contribute towards accelerating the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity rate in Malawi. “It has three strategic objectives of advocating for increased resources, utilisation, and improved quality, equity and dignity of reproductive, maternal and newborn health services with a special focus on adolescents”, said Kamwendo.
Kamwendo said her organisation works hard to hold the government and politicians to account against their commitments of action in order to improve maternal and newborn survival.
She said the project, besides having a vision of seeing a Malawi nation where all newborns, girls and women realise their right to quality health and well-being, has core values such as passion, integrity, volunteerism, perseverance, equality and partnership.
The country coordinator said the project will use a range of strategies to achieve the intended results including sustained advocacy, targeted campaigns, social accountability, packaging evidence and strengthened alliance and partnerships.
She said Malawi needs 20,000 additional midwives to meet World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended ratio of one midwife to every 175 women of reproductive age, saying currently, one midwife for 4,000 women is a development which is worrisome not only to the midwives alone but the country as a whole.
She said in 2016, according to the survey it collected from the country’s health facilities, there were only 3,420 practising midwives – and one never knows whether they are within Malawi itself or in other countries or even have died – working to give quality health care to 4.1 million women of reproductive age. “It is a nightmare,” she said.
Kamwendo said her organisation, alongside other rights bodies, are striving to put accountability structures for health care management systems so that midwives will know their roles and responsibilities and be able to deliver in the interest of all.
She said her organisation will never get tired of advocating for midwives incentives, ensuring that those already employed remain where they are working and that they should not run away for other greener pastures.
The coordinator pleaded with all clients of health facilities to respect the rights of the midwives and give them full support. And that, beside facing challenges in human capacity, they should be regarded as citizens who also get tired, but this should be a two way communication.
In Dowa, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood will implement Quality, Equity and Dignified reproductive project in the areas of T/As Msakambewa and Chakhaza in addition to T/A Mponela where previously it was implementing its first project which ended up on a successful note in the district.