Christian Aid has rolled out the Reaching Mother and Child for Health project in Karonga to improve turn up of women for antenatal and postnatal care and documentation of referral cases.
The project started on a pilot basis in June last year at Chilumba Rural Hospital and, following positive results, it has been extended to the rest of the district.
Speaking during the training of health workers on the project in Karonga , Christian Aid monitoring and evaluation officer Emmanuel Kanike said people in health facilities tend to ignore the importance of the routine facility data collected.
He said: “They do not know the progress of results of the work they are doing in their facility since sometimes data is not analysed on regular basis either due to limited analysis skills or poor team coordination.
“An orientation of data focal persons was organised to equip participants with data analysis skills of facility-based, using already installed software with which they will generate graphs to monitor quarterly progress of selected maternal and neonatal indicators of their respective facilities.”
According to Kanike, the health workers were also oriented on how they can collect basic data from pregnant and breastfeeding women to send them Short Message Service (SMS) reminders of clinical appointments and provide them with tips on maternal and neonatal health issues.
Karonga district nursing officer Malon Nyirenda has expressed optimism that the project will replicate the situation at Chilumba Rural Hospital where more women are now accessing antenatal and postnatal care.
He said about nine to 10 percent of expectant mothers go for antenatal care during the first trimester in Karonga, but the figures grow thereafter. n