Maikhanda Trust says Covid-19 has negatively affected maternal and neonatal health services in Balaka.
Speaking at Kwitanda in the district on Saturday during a Safe Motherhood Amid Covid-19 Pandemic open day awareness campaign, Maikhanda Trust executive director Eric Tsetekani said many pregnant women are not accessing family planning methods because of the fear for pandemic.
He said: “Many people, including pregnant women are not accessing hospital services because of myths and falsehoods that they will be infected or injected with Covid-19 deliberately at the hospital. Consequently, maternal and neonatal health services uptake has drastically reduced.
“With funding from J&J Foundation, we are promoting safe motherhood and Covid-19 messages to encourage pregnant women to attend antenatal despite Covid-19. Maikhanda will now be providing Covid-19 protective wear like face masks to the communities, apart from messages to help the ultra-poor.”
Balaka District family planning coordinator Fanny Mawaya said because of interventions from stakeholders such as Maikhanda, contraceptive prevalence rate has improved from 43 percent in 2020 to 48 percent currently.
“We are currently promoting long-term contraceptives such as Implanon and Jadere as compared to short-term ones like Depo-SC and Depo-Provera to stop women from frequenting the hospital because of the pandemic,” she said.
Balaka District Council vice-chairperson Byson Gombwa said it is sad that many people, including pregnant women, shun hospital services for fear of Covid-19.
“As Balaka District Council, we are grateful to Maikhanda for this intervention on maternal and neonatal health amid Covid-19, which will encourage more pregnant women to seek antenatal services despite the pandemic still haunting us,” he said.