People of Traditional Authority Makanjira in Salima will soon stop travelling 18 kilometres to Khombedza Health Centre following the construction of a K170 million health facility in their area.
Hawa Ziyadu from Mtule Village said in an interview on Wednesday that the facility will promote safe motherhood.
She said due to the distance, women preferred to deliver with the help of traditional birth attendants who are, however, not skilled to perform the task.
“Khombedza Health Centre is far away and this prevented us from accessing antenatal and post natal services. It was not easy to walk that distance while pregnant,” said Ziyadu.
Sauda Hainolo from Manolo Village said they spend about K6 000 to hire a bicycle taxi (kabaza) to go to Khombedza Health Centre.
“Yet, when you report while labour pains have started, the facility charges you a penalty of K5 000, which is also a lot of money,” she said.
The project’s committee chairperson Abasa Lajabu said they are working with the contractor to ensure the project runs smoothly.
He said the project has delayed due to heavy rains that rendered the roads to the site impassable.
“So, the contractor failed to deliver construction materials in time,” said Lajabu.
Salima district director of health and social services Dr Yonasi Chise said Makanjira is one of the areas with high home deliveries.
“The facility will help to reduce maternal and infant deaths. Pregnant mothers will deliver at a health facility and children will access immunisation services,” he said.
The health centre will include structures such as maternity wing, placenta pit, incinerator, ash pit and water system.
In January 2022, Salima District Council launched the construction of the project under World Bank’s Governance to Enable Service Delivery (Gesd) funds.
Gesd is a government of Malawi project implemented by National Local Government Finance Committee in the country’s 28 district councils. n