One in five women continue to report unmet family planning needs associated with inadequate access to maternal health services, a condition that contributes to teenage pregnancies and high fertility rates.
United States International Development Agency (USAID) Deputy Mission Director Melissa Francis said these, in turn, are the factors contributing 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 the USAID-funded health infrastructure to the Ministry of Health.
She observed that despite significant and notable achievements in providing quality health services, the risk of maternal death in Malawi is among the highest in the world, with neonatal deaths accounting for 44% of infant mortality.
“In light of this, it is more important than ever to scale up our efforts to enable stronger national leadership and long-lasting, high-impact partnerships like this one. In order to advance the health gains achieved, 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 in providing quality services in the areas of maternal, newborn, and child health, family planning, malaria, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene.
She added that investments in critical 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 proper ventilation, a treatment station, a nurses office with appropriate furniture.
“A maternity ward in the same hospital has been renovated and expanded to provide unique delivery suites that provide privacy and space where a companion or husband can support a mother throughout the birthing process,” a- she said.
In her remarks, Deputy Minister of Health and Population Chrissie Kalamula Kanyasho said the government of Malawi, as part of its strategic plan for the health sector, has presented infrastructure development as a priority. priority intervention for the country to deliver its essential health program which focuses on reducing the high morbidity and mortality rates facing the country.
Kanyasho said that as the plan enters its final year, it has become evident through the mid-term review that the country still has a long way to go to meet the goals it has set for itself. infrastructure development.
She said it is against this backdrop that the Department of Health and district councils are delighted to receive huge investments that the U.S. government has made to address infrastructure challenges in 16 districts where USAID is putting. implementing 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 because all four levels of health service delivery in Malawi have benefited from this support. The ministry wants all of these levels to play their rightful role in preventing disease and delivering 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 they have decided to make the token handover of all infrastructure developments at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe in the spirit of efficiency.
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