One in five women continue to report unmet family planning needs associated with insufficient access to maternal health services, a situation that contributes to early pregnancy and high fertility rates.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director Melissa Francis said these factors are in turn the contributing factors to the high number of maternal and child deaths in Malawi.
Francis made the remarks at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe on Friday when she handed over USAID-funded health infrastructure to the Ministry of Health.
She observed that despite significant and notable achievements in delivering quality health services, the lifetime risk of maternal death in Malawi is among the highest in the world, with neonatal deaths accounting for 44% of child mortality. .
“In light of this, it is more important than ever to step up our efforts to enable stronger national leadership and sustainable, high-impact partnerships like this. In order to advance progress in health, we We will continue to work hand in hand to extend health services, especially to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities,” said Francis.
She revealed that over the past five years, USAID has supported district health management teams to provide quality services in the areas of maternal, newborn, and child health, family planning, malaria, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene.
She added that critical investments in infrastructure have also been made to ensure appropriate space and environment for dignified and respectable care.
Francis cited the renovation of a pediatric ward at Dowa District Hospital with adequate ventilation, a treatment station, a nurses office station with appropriate furniture.
“A maternity ward at the same hospital has been renovated and expanded to provide individual birthing suites that ensure privacy and space where a companion or husband can support a mother through the birthing process,” a- she recounted.
In her remarks, the Deputy Minister of Health and Population, Chrissie Kalamula Kanyasho, said that the government of Malawi, through its health sector strategic plan, has defined infrastructure development as an intervention priority for the country to deliver its essential health program which focuses on reducing the high number of morbidity and mortality facing the country.
Kanyasho said that as the plan enters its final year, it has become clear from the mid-term review that the country still has a long way to go to achieve the goals it set itself in in infrastructure development.
She said it is against this backdrop that the Department of Health and district councils are thrilled to receive the huge investments the U.S. government has made to address infrastructure challenges in 16 districts where USAID is implementing implements the ONSE project.
“I am particularly touched that infrastructure support has not only targeted district hospitals but also health centers and community hospitals. This is indeed commendable as the four levels of health service delivery in Malawi have benefited from the support.It is the Ministry of the wish that all these levels play their rightful role in disease prevention and the delivery of essential health services,” said the Deputy Minister.
The ONSE project is being implemented in Chitipa, Karonga and Nkhata Bay in the North, Nkhotakota, Salima, Dowa, Lilongwe Kasungu Mchinji in the Central Region and Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Chikwawa and Zomba in the South Region .
Kanyasho said he decided to organize the symbolic handover of all infrastructural developments at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe in the spirit of efficiency.