President Dr. Joyce Banda says her personal childbirth horror experience urges her to fight for safe motherhood for Malawian women.
The President was speaking at Chinkhuti Primary School Ground after she officially opened a 24-bed waiting shelter for pregnant women at Lumbadzi Health Centre in Dowa.
“When I was giving birth to my child in 1984, I had a very bad experience. I was unconscious for some time, but a quick intervention by Dr. Chiphangwi saved my life.
“Since that time I have been praying to God to give me an opportunity to save the lives of my fellow women when giving birth through interventions like the waiting shelter which will ensure that pregnant women are closer to medical help,” she said.
President Banda said through Safe Motherhood Programme her government has built over 22 shelters across the country to help reduce maternal mortality.
“When I took over the Safe Motherhood Initiative, the maternal mortality rate was at about 800 per one 100, 000 women, but now we have managed to reduce it to around 460 per one hundred thousand women,” she explained.
She said she would continue to lobby for support from well-wishers to support Safe Motherhood Initiative to ensure that pregnant women are given proper medical attention.
She urged the people around the area to take care of the shelter. The president also pledged to give an ambulance to the Health Centre.
She also urged people in the area to vote for her and People’s Party (PP) during the May 20, tripartite elections because it is the only party with people’s needs tailored party.
“I don’t have to remind you that when I took over the running of the government there was a crisis in the country.
“We had fuel problems, food shortages and very poor diplomatic relations and we have managed to change all that for the better.
Even the media are now able to express themselves freely without intimidation and the opposition parties are also being given opportunity to sell their manifestos on public broadcasters like Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC),” said President Banda.
Teleza Jonathan, one of the beneficiaries told Malawi News Agency (Mana), she was happy with the shelter.
“In the past we did not have a shelter like this one with beds when we came for maternal services at this centre. We could sleep on mats or bare floor and that is not an ideal experience for a pregnant woman and I would like to thank the president for this help.
“She should do the same for other people in the same areas,” said Jonathan from Traditional Authority Dzoole in the district.
The Health Centre In-charge, Christina Salale, told Mana that the shelter would reduce congestion and would also attract more women to deliver at the Health Facility where they would be given proper antenatal care.
The shelter has been constructed with the help of Mota Engil and cost over K35, 000.
Safe Motherhood Initiative is aiming at constructing at least 130 waiting shelters by 2015.