Taking Maternal and Neonatal Matters to Community!

…woman lauds MNH taskforces.

Esnart Phiri of Jabesi village in T/A Kalumo has now started going for antenatal care after the Taskforces mobilised the community on maternal and neonatal health messages and counselled the pregnant mothers on importance of starting antenatal visit earlier.

In December 2014, MaiKhanda started implementing Comic Relief project in Four Traditional Authoritie’s of Ntchisi District  aimed at improving maternal and new born health outcomes in the district by increasing women’s and communities awareness of MNH. T/A Kalumo is one of the targeted T/A’s and has a population of 45,466.

MaiKhanda forms community structures (Taskforces and Women Groups). Taskforce members are trained to counsel women and their families on critical issues of Maternal and Neonatal Health during pregnancy and the postpartum period. They are further trained in counselling and negotiation skills and techniques, and how to conduct home visits in an interactive and participatory manner. These task force committees were formed under each Health Surveillance Assistant catchment area, and are registering pregnant women, conducting follow ups and postnatal visits for the mothers, and dissemination of MNH messages. The project is using Taskforce committees and women groups to achieve its intended goals..

In a clear response to the intervention, one of the project beneficiaries is Esnart Phiri from Jabesi Village under Nkhuzi Health Facilty in T/A Kalumo. She is 29 years old, married to Joseph Phiri with one kid and 3 months pregnant and has this to say.

 

“This is my 7th pregnancy, but I have one kid, had three miscarriages and three fresh still birth. All the previous six pregnancies, I have never been to hospital nor antenatal because I thought it is not essential by looking at my status as I am poor and do not have necessary and adequate materials. Three of the pregnancies i delivered at home with the help of my mother and the other three at the Traditional Birth attendant. When the taskforce started visiting and counselling me on the importance of attending the ANC, I was reluctant to comply but then I thought of giving it a try and I went for antenatal visit last Tuesday, where the Nurse also counselled and encouraged me to go for the next scheduled antenatal visit so that I should protect my unborn baby from any injuries that can cause miscarriage. I am very thankful to the Task forces and Mikhanda for the project, because at the Health facility I received good and necessary messages for keeping my pregnancy safe which I did not know in the past and I believe this pregnancy will be full term and I will deliver a healthy baby.”

Taskforce committee during a home visit to Esnat Phiri

 MaiKhanda is working closely with the ministry of health through the Health Surveillance Assistants, Community Based Maternal and Neonatal Health  and Safe Motherhood Coordinators in implementing the project which covers three quarters of Ntchisi population, (as Ntchisi has seven T/A’s and Maikhanda is working in four T/A’s).

 

Collaborating Esnart Phiri,  Nkhuzi Health Facility have commended MaiKhanda project. “The project has shown potential of bringing  significant change on maternal health, because number of women attending the antenatal visit has increased, as in January 2015, we registered 49 new pregnant women and June 2015 the number increased to 69, we anticipate this trend to continue” Said Davie Banda, a Midwife at Nkhuzi Healthy Facility.   

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