About the A+MNH Project
Maikhanda Trust with funding from UNICEF has been supporting Ministry of Health with implementation of Adolescent plus maternal newborn health (A+MNH) services project through Reproductive Health Directorate (RHD), Quality Management Directorate (QMD), Health Education Unit (HEU) and communities. The project aims to improve delivery of quality A+MNH care services by health facility staff and greater engagement and participation of the communities surrounding. The interventions are combination of Quality Improvement (QI) at the facility level and Community Based Maternal and Newborn Healthcare (CBMNC) programme. MaiKhanda has been implementing a community project aiming at improving Adolescent, Maternal and Newborn health (AMNH) in five priority districts. Thyolo was one of the district among the five districts executing the project.
The Open Day
Open day campaigns were among community activities implemented for sensitization and awareness on A+MNH services. One of the open days was held at Nunkhungu School ground in the area of group village Mchenga. The area is supported by Zoa health center. This catchment area is surrounded by 13 villages including Mchenga, Mbawera, Nankhungu, Mikongo, Namajere and Koloviko. The open day attracted approximately 560 people comprising of women of child bearing age, men, youths, community leaders and decision makers from the district. Key figures in attendance at the event included DHMT members (DNO, Safe motherhood Coordinator, CBMNC Coordinator), Zoa facility In-charge, T/A representative, Chiefs and the Headmaster of Nankhungu primary school.
The main objective of the open day was to sensitize and motivate community members to take part in maternal health and adolescent issues. It was also aimed at encouraging women and men to patronize antenatal care services within the first trimester, birth preparedness, facility deliveries and family planning. The youth were also sensitized on the availability of Youth Friendly Health Services at the Zoa health center and the disadvantages of teenage pregnancies
Activities at the Event
Drama, poems, traditional dances and speeches were done to fulfill the objectives of the open day.
The traditional dances and drama were done by a group of community members while poems were delivered by standard eight students representing the youth of the area, The key messages conveyed through drama, dances and poems were surrounding male involvement, importance of ANC, facility deliveries, dangers of teenage pregnancies and taking of local Pitocin by pregnant women during labor.
Key speakers were Senior HSA of the area, facility In-charge, CBMNC Coordinator, DNO and group village headman Mchenga.
- SHSA remarks
The SHSA introduced the theme of the open day which was “Imfa za amayi ndi makanda ndizopeweka, Achinyamata tengulirani thanzi ndi tsogolo lanu” maternal and neonatal death are preventable and the youth to take full responsibility of their health. He introduced all key stakeholders present at the meeting.
- Facility In-charge remarks
The facility In-charge for Zoa health center started his remarks by emphasizing that safe motherhood “Uchembere wabwino” is a problem in the area for example when a women becomes pregnant men they do not take any responsibility, it is always the woman who carries all the burden while men are far away. He therefore reminded the men that pregnancy starts with the a man hence men should take full responsibility and get involved throughout the pregnancy. Such as going to ANC and involving in birth preparedness together. He further discouraged the use of local Pitocin “Mwiniko” he said that giving birth is a procedure therefore rushing the baby to come out can result to deadly consequences for both the mother and the child.
- CBMNC Coordinator remarks
The CBMNC Coordinator highlighted that there is an increase in maternal and neonatal deaths compared to some previous months which is attributing to some women still delivering at TBAs. He informed the community that every village has got an HSA and urged every new pregnant woman to inform the HSA of her area so that the HSA should proceed conducting home visit. This applies to every new mothers with newborn babies.
- DNO remarks
The DNO started by thanking Chiefs for showing interest and taking part in safe motherhood initiatives. She further thanked MaiKhanda Trust for the support it is offering on CBMNC in the district. Ministry of health on its own can hardly achieve its goals because of inadequate resources. And asked MaiKhanda to replicate the same to other health centers with such types of messages through open days because it is one way of mass sensitization and building capacity to rural communities.
She elaborated the dangers of teenage pregnancies that could result in uterus damage and premature babies. She expressed her worries that most pregnant women of the area attend ANC twice during pregnancy. She encouraged them to at least attend to ANC four times. On delivery she also discouraged the use of local Pitocin and going to hospital late after labor has started “kudikila kuti zikolere”. She therefore asked men to allow their wives to go to chidikilo or have means of transport in place so once labor starts they can rush the woman to the hospital.
Finally she urged all community members to get vaccinated to COVID vaccine.
- Group Village Headman remarks
Group village headman Mchenga thanked the DHO and MaiKhanda for allowing the open day to be held in her area. She said the event was educative to the youth, men, women of child bearing age and married couples. She said people of area have understood quite well the message and stick to safe motherhood procedures. And that chief will take the message further through other community gathering. She finally said such meeting should come again.
MaiKhanda Trust is a Malawian non-governmental and nonprofit organization established and registered under Trustees Incorporation Act in 2006. MaiKhanda works with the Ministry of Health and all partners and stakeholders in Maternal and Neonatal Health service delivery.
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