Malawian Men have been advised to play an active role on issues of family planning if safe motherhood is to be achieved in the country, National Coordinator for Initiative on Safe Motherhood Chimwemwe Chipungu has said.
Chipungu said this on today in Lilongwe during the opening of a maternity waiting home at Area 25 health centre which has been built under the UNC maternal health project.
He said the attainment of safe motherhood in the country has been slowed down by the lack of participation from men who view the issue as a domain for women alone.
“Safe motherhood will only be possible if men change their attitude towards the issue. The perception that family planning has nothing to do with them is proving costly in the long run as it is resulting in bloated families,” said Chipungu.
Team leader for the UNC Project Dr Ann Phoya said they decided to make the donation of the maternal waiting home and an ambulance since it is in line with their project goals of ensuring that mothers give birth in the safest possible conditions.
“We know that the reduction maternal mortality is one of our major goals to come here, so we are looking at both the supply and demand side of services. Now on the demand side for maternal health we have mobilized chiefs through the health information campaign in which we go to the people with health messages.
“We engage the communities where we tell them on the importance of coming to deliver at the hospital and not waiting in their homes until the situation gets complicated. The other part of the part of the demand side is to make sure that mothers are accessing health facilities in a timely manner that is why we have built this maternity waiting home,” said Dr Phoya.
A total of MK5 million (about $10 000) has been pumped into the project which will also include a new labour ward at the hospital and a new ante-natal ward. Under the same project, UNC will also train health workers to address the problem of staff shortage at the health facility.
Presidential Advisor on safe motherhood Calista Mutharika said the opening of facilities like the waiting home is a step in the right direction as it gives hope to many mothers in the country who have for so long being denied of such services.
“The opening of the maternity waiting home is a milestone in itself, all pointers are there that we have started addressing the challenges that are being faced by mothers in tackling the issue of maternal deaths at the very root point,” said Mutharika.
She has also advised Malawians to maintain sizeable families as the increasing population is causing a serious strain of the service delivery like health.
—Reporting by Brian Itai, Malawi News Agency.