£3 covers the cost of an antenatal/postnatal appointment >£25 provides a baby pack to a mother in need >£20,000 builds a new maternity clinic >

403 babies safely delivered in 2020.

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1,719 mothers received antenatal care in 2020.

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623 mothers provided with postnatal care in 2020.

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97,025 mothers & babies lives saved/changed.

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Globally, 94% of all maternal deaths occur in low and lower middle-income countries, yet most of these deaths could have been prevented (WHO). In Malawi, approximately 70% of pregnant women face issues in accessing maternal health services, whilst many women have to walk up to 9km to reach a clinic, and can lead to birthing complications and even death for those in labour (Malawi DHS, pg 140). In addition, 19 newborns (per 1000 live births) will die before reaching their first month of life (UNICEF).

Patuma and Alidi’s Story

“My labour pains started at midnight and my husband was so scared since it was our first baby. He rushed to tell my mother. She told my husband, Joseph, to put me on a bicycle, which was already on standby, and head to the hospital.”

This is the beginning of the story of Patuma and Alidi from a remote village in the rural lake district of Mangochi, Malawi. It is a story of how conditions in some areas of the world make childbirth life-threatening both for mother and child. However, it is also a story of how help and kindness from the public can save lives in a resource limited setting.

“On our way to hospital, we met some people who were coming from the beer hole. We became scared and because of my condition, we decided to face them and explained our story – that we were rushing to the hospital for delivery. The men then decided to escort us to the Health Centre.”

“My condition became worse when it started to rain and it was cold. One of the men who joined us had a raincoat which he gave me and we had to seek shelter in the nearby village until the rain became less heavy. When the rain stopped, we continued our journey to the health Centre. When we reached the Health Centre, I was almost ready for the delivery, the nurses were also busy helping the other women in the labour ward so there was nobody to attend to me. Just after ten minutes, labour started and I was assisted by Hospital Maids and I delivered a baby boy. Fortunately, we both survived.”

Some women aren’t as fortunate. In Malawi there have been cases of women dying in labour on public buses in an attempt to reach the nearest healthcare facility.

Help mothers in difficult circumstances access healthcare without barriers >

Why is the Malawi Maternity Project Needed?

In the southern regions of Malawi, expectant mothers face difficulties in accessing maternity clinics for antenatal appointments, postnatal checkups and deliveries/births. Public transport is often too expensive and runs within a limited time frame - particularly inconvenient and often life-threatening in emergency situations (Government of Malawi). Those with less money to spare may walk up to 9km distances to attend appointments, often in conditions when they are most at risk to miscarry, including whilst in labour. (Health Foundation) Some expectant mothers resort to visiting traditional birthing assistants, and avoid healthcare clinics altogether due to the difficulty it takes to reach the clinics. Many expectant mothers have therefore experienced birthing complications or in worst case scenarios, died due to the distance and time it takes to reach a clinic.

“Increasing access to maternal health clinics will result in an increased uptake of postnatal and antenatal care services. This will help to identify any complications to ensure safer deliveries and reduce the number of maternal health deaths.” -Malawi, Project Support Officer

The Malawi Maternity Project in Action

Whilst maternal care has been one of the core areas of our work in Malawi since 2016, DWW has since been focusing on building and scaling up the provision of maternal care services by addressing some of the key barriers in accessing maternity care in rural areas of Malawi, including the development of transport links through the introduction of ambu-bikes, new maternity clinics in strategic locations, access to free maternity packs to enable mothers to give birth in clinics, and increased training of maternity healthcare workers. Through this, we aim to increase the number of vital antenatal care (ANC), postnatal care visits (PNC) and delivery appointments in healthcare facilities which can reduce the number of mother and baby deaths - 75% of which are preventable with the early identification of any birthing complications (WHO).

In detail: Maternity Clinic Build

In detail: Ambu-bikes

In detail: Mother-Baby Packs

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