By Chiko Mwanachala 08/4/2015
A year down the line Dr. Joyce Banda’s Safe Motherhood Initiative proves to still bear fruits in Malawi villages, one of the villages known as Pitala Village under Sub Traditional Chief Pitala in Mchinji has come open to congratulate Dr Joyce Banda for introducing Safe Motherhood programs
According to the Initiative that has been at the core of Dr. Joyce Banda heart that every community has a task of reducing maternal and Infant deaths, Pitala village has been one of the model villages where the community took the task of reducing maternal and new born deaths head on by establishing their own bylaws which have helped to end the deaths in the area.
“This is our fifteenth year without registering any maternal or new born death in this village. I can proudly say it is our own initiative as a village and I owe it all to my people,” said STA Pitala.
She said any person walking through the village would be greeted with messages of family planning, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, hygiene and sanitation among others splashed on the walls of their houses.
“If you walk around the village you will find that each house has a message on it. The idea is to remind ourselves of what we are supposed to do so as to save pregnant women and new born babies.”
“But not only for us, because we also did that deliberately so that we also reach out to other villages around us with those messages so that they should borrow a leaf of what we are doing, because together, we can save Malawi from maternal and new born deaths,” she said.
The village, which is called “a maternal death free zone” by its inhabitants, produces only four new born babies annually.
“People think we restrict families from having more children, but the truth of the matter is that our community is well informed on issues about family planning and child spacing. “They have come to understand the benefits of small families and child spacing,” said Grace Kanyenda who is chairperson of the secret committee for the village.
Kanyenda said her committee records all that year’s pregnancies and makes follow ups to check if the woman is going for antenatal clinics and what responsibility the husband is taking. “It is our committee that certifies if the family is eligible to have a child or not. So before falling pregnant, the family is supposed to consult us,” said Kanyenda.
According to Kanyenda, the befitting family needs to have resources that will enable it give necessary attention to the child, give them all that they require including education and this has helped the community a lot.
” It is quite evident that Dr. Joyce Banda’s strategies that some are being adopted by the current government were of substance to Malawians especially to mothers and their unborn children in Safe motherhood Initiative and even a child cannot deny that Dr. Joyce Banda’s bold plan to improve maternal care nationwide has changed the maternal mortality rate in the country.” She said