By Chancy Namadzunda
Malawi’s leading Telecommunications Company, Airtel has joined hands with government in combating deaths of pregnant mothers and unborn children by donating K15 million for scholarships of 15 nurses to be trained in India.
Airtel Malawi’s Deputy Director Maulice Newa said as government strives to provide the needs of the people, it is the duty of any responsible citizen, be it corporate, to partner.
“As they say, ‘a single bracelet does not jingle,’ we realize that Malawi faces rnormous challneg to meet targets on health and safe motherhood under the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), and we are very keen to complement government efforts,” said Newa.
Deputy Health Minister Halima Daud said the donation comes at a right when government is trying to save the live of pregnant women and newly born babies.
According to Daud, currently, there is an inbalance and lack of skilled birth attendance both in urban and rural areas with about 84 percent and 53 percent respectively with the rural population having no access to maternal health.
“We have made progress towards achieving the MDG related to maternal health, however we want to come out clearly to say that deaths of pregnant women are unacceptable because we believe pregnancy is not a disease.
“The actions that can make a difference in saving a life of a pregnant woman lies within us Malawians and if we cannot do anything about our situation, who else will come and help us? We must stand now and not later. We therefor need to improne the number of skilled birth attendants in our health facilities.
“It is time therefore to make a difference to our own nation by saving mothers from preventable deaths that come due to pregnancy complications,” she said.
In Malawi, according to United Nations, 69 infants for every 1,000 live births and 118 children under five, die from preventable or treatable illnesses. Maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world claiming over 5,800 women at childbirth or pregnancy related illnesses.
It further says these unacceptable high fatalities can be stopped with simple measures including access to child and maternal health care, immunisation, distribution of mosquito nets and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and proper nutrition.