Though 2.6 million babies around the world do not survive beyond a month, according to a recent BBC report, the numbers in Malawi have dropped significantly between 1990 and 2016. In fact, according to the Malawi Demographic Health Survey, from 1990 to 2016 the under-five child mortality rate was reduced by 7% per year, from 67 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 27 per 1000 in 2016.
The BBC report claims that the chance of survival rate for newborns has doubled since 2000 when only half of pregnant Malawian women had access to medical care, whereas now that number is at 80%. Your WOW MotherCare support has been a part of this change!
UNICEF accredits these advances to increased access to maternal health care in rural villages, and WOW MotherCare does just that.
The following is a transcript story delivered in her own words of how your support of the WOW MotherCare program changed the life of Evalata (above):
My name is Evelata. I am from this community Mandala, Malawi. I am from the MotherCare group. When I was six months pregnant I was enrolled in the WOW transport and voucher program. Before that I did not have any access to go to the hospital. I was only relying on traditional birth attendants for pre and postnatal care and the birthing of my babies. But through the WOW transport and voucher program I was able to hire a bicycle to take me to and from the hospital. I started seeing new things in my life when I went to the hospital. My body used to be pale and skinny but with the transport vouchers I am able to attend a hospital visit where the doctor can examine my body and tell me how to take care of myself better during my pregnancies. As you can see I’m looking really bright and my baby is looking healthy and I really appreciate the MotherCare program.
Because I wasn’t able to go to the hospital for my other births, I suffered many complications during this pregnancy. At first had swollen feet which I didn’t understand what it meant. We started to associate this with witchcraft. Even my other family members started to suspect each other being jealous of my pregnancy and therefore cursing me causing my complications. I did not know that my swollen feet and legs were something that I could get advice from at the hospital. But the hospital helped me to see that this issue wasn’t due to witchcraft.
Since then, I have been a very committed member of the MotherCare group. I wasn’t just coming for the sake of coming but after my experience with the swollen legs I’ve really understood the importance of advice and support from other group members. Even my prayer life has improved. There was a time when others prayed and I would just look at them and laugh not understanding what it was all about. But now I realize that God is faithful and hears our prayers. I am so very thankful for this group and all that it has done to help me and my family. And I continued to thank God and ask him to bless you abundantly so that you may continue to support this program and help so many other babies and their mothers.
Despite the incredible strides made in Malawian maternal healthcare lauded by the BBC article, according to a report released by UNICEF early in 2018, sadly, 1 out of 37 babies still die in the first month of their lives in Malawi.
The question is: why?
Over 80 % of Malawians live in rural areas, limiting the access to maternal health care services.
UNICEF representative Johannes Wedening reports “a shortage of well-trained health workers and midwives means that thousands of newborns do not receive the lifesaving support they need to survive”. Other contributing factors, according to UNICEF, include premature births, complications during delivery, and infections.
Here at WOW we are just coming into our MotherCare campaign season where we ask churches, women’s groups, and individuals to come on board and raise awareness and support for material healthcare services in Malawi. Just $260 helps to furnish a WOW MotherCare Clinic in rural community with simple preventative healthcare equipment which includes a stethoscope, maternity pads, pediatric vitamins, hydration fluids, a weigh sling and scales, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, prenatal vitamins, vitamin rich porridge, birthing supplies, a blood pressure monitor, a flashlight, a thermometer, operating scissors and antiseptic solutions. Further, it provides a pregnant mother with prenatal and birthing education, regular check-ups and accessed to trained birth attendants which helps save lives
Help us save lives by filling a WOW MotherCare clinic today or contact us about hosting a WOW MotherCare event in your area.