Written by MWAI JIMUSOLE
LILONGWE--Some Indian medical experts have committed themselves to assisting Malawi’s Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood.
The medical experts say they will support Pres Joyce Banda’s initiative through provision of medical training to local medical personnel, resource mobilization and treatment of other diseases that emanate from pregnancy complications.
Worldwide, over half a million women die every year as a result of complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth. Majority of these deaths occur in developing countries like Malawi where challenges regarding conditions of delivery, transportation, lack of equipment, lack of quality maternal health care and skilled health workers as well as social aspects are among the major causes of deaths for women and the new born.
Currently, Malawi’s Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is at 675 per 100,000 live births.
Speaking Thursday at the presidential Initiative’s secretariat in Lilongwe, Artemis Medicare Services Chief Operating Officer Dr Devlina Chakravarty said she was impressed with the activities and projects the presidential initiative rolled out to improve maternal health care in the country.
“The work that is being done to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths in the country is commendable. In India we were also in the similar situation but as of now we have managed to completely eliminate maternal and neonatal deaths,” said Chakravarty, who is also the director of Artemis Medicare Services.
She further said Malawians should take advantage of the existing political will to assist President Banda in maternal and neonatal deaths reduction campaign.
Malawi as one of the poorest countries in the world, 40 percent of its population is living below the poverty line and the country is at the epicenter of the HIV and AIDS epidemic with a prevalence rate of 12 percent.
Of the estimated 900,000 people infected with HIV, approximately 56 percent and 23 percent are women and children, respectively.
“In India we had the very same situation but later on we lobbied other partners and changed some of the laws particularly the marriage age. As of now the maternal mortality rate has significantly decreased due to the role that communities’ leaders played,” she claimed.
Chakravarty said she will mobilize Indian medical experts to support the initiative especially by training local medical experts in areas of fistula and handling of availability equipment to ably reduce maternal mortality rate in the country.
Chairperson of the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood, Senior Chief Kwataine said chiefs should always encourage women to go to health facilities for delivery, saying that way they avoid unwarranted complications.
“Our role is to encourage and sensitize our subjects, especially expectant mothers to always go to nearest health facilities and they can always be doing that to avoid other complications,” the chief said.
He hailed the Indian delegation’s commitment toward to the initiative, saying this will enhance resource mobilization and capacity building of local medical experts.
On her part National Coordinator for the Presidential Initiative, Dorothy Ngoma described the partnership as significant development to both countries.
“Although we are taking strides to completely end maternal and neonatal deaths we need a lot of support from well wishers, donors and the cooperate world.
“The team of Indian doctors will assist in various areas and we need to praise them for their commitment. It has always been our commitment to increase the number of the trained medical personnel and secure medical equipment which is inadequate in the country,” said Ngoma.
She also said their coming to Malawi will drive up the government to improve maternal health situation in the country.
The Indian team visited Malawi to follow up and treat patients who were referred to Indian Hospitals for surgeries after diagnosed heart and cancer problems.
Currently, about 16 women die every day while giving birth or due to other pregnancy complications in Malawi. About 56 percent maternal deaths occur in the Southern Region, 26 percent in Central and 17 percent in the Northern Region of Malawi.
Pres Banda rolled out the Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Initiative with an aim of reducing maternal deaths in the country.
(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited