Mangochi, July 1, 2016:African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) Health Africa, an international non — governmental organization has said continued efforts were required to prevent early and teenage pregnancies since the two elements undermine efforts of improving maternal and child health.
AMREF Health Africa Staying Alive Project Manager, Seminie Nyirenda made the observation on Thursday during a stakeholders meeting on the phasing out of Staying Alive intervention which runs from 2013 to 2015 in Mangochi.
Nyirenda emphasized that extra effort by different partners in the health sector towards reducing early and teenage pregnancies would go a long way in improving maternal and child health status in the district.
“As at now, most of the interventions are failing to bear desirable fruits because early and teenage pregnancies are still a concern and they put other efforts in realizing improved maternal and child health in jeopardy,” Nyirenda said.
Nyirenda said although most people were knowledgeable about various family methods, utilization of the same in the district remained very low with injectables being the favourite among most clients.
She pointed out that women need to be empowered to make decisions on accessing family planning services. She alleged that although abortion was illegal in Malawi women continued to procure the same.
“There is generally strain on post abortal care services for a number of reasons, ranging from culture which does not allow single women to give birth to high levels of fertility and poverty,” Nyirenda added.
Nyirenda disclosed that the Staying Alive initiative had a component of providing fistula repair services and psychosocial support to patients with fistula condition. She further said the problem of fistula was aggravated by the rising cases of teenage pregnancies.
“There have been a lot of successes registered in this project, in terms of fistula repairs, at least 352 fistula cases were mobilized out of which 249 were repaired successfully against the set target of 240,” Nyirenda said.
In his remarks, Mangochi District Environmental Health Officer, Kondwani Mamba said the district was indebted to AMREF for the important inroads it had made in the area of maternal and child health, saying it (hospital) banks on the support of other partners in the sector to sustain the gains.
“AMREF has created a very big demand for services out there. We will work with various partners to incorporate some of the interventions in the DIP (district implementation plans),” Mamba said.
Mamba commended AMREF for complementing government in her efforts of delivering good quality health services. He cited the establishment of district service committee on health as a landmark in that pursuit.
“AMREF was very responsive to the needs of the district such that at the time the district was hit by floods they assisted in mounting of clinics and camps with the necessary supplies. AMREF was ready to assist even at community level thereby strengthening health system structures through such empowerment,” he enthused.
Director of Administration for Mangochi District Council, Bissaih Mtayamanja also thanked AMREF for being instrumental in supporting the health sector in the district. He observed that AMREF trained different cadres and therefore asked other partners to emulate such an example.
Senior Chief Chimwala said concerted efforts were a prerequisite to transforming the district, calling on partners to ensure proper coordination of activities in the course of discharging their duties in a bid to achieve one common goal of improving people’s living standards.
The three year Staying Alive project which cut across all the health facilities with maternity services in the district focuses on improving family planning service delivery, improving skilled birth attendants ang antenatal care.