National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (Nonm) chairperson Dorothy Ngoma, who once headed the initiative under Joyce Banda, said recent gains in fighting maternal mortality could be eroded if the initiative is not supported.
“It contributed to reduction of mortality rate from 650 to the current rate of around 400. Of course, this was not wholly because of the initiative but other government efforts as well, but clearly the initiative was the main factor,” said Ngoma.
She cited a sum of K1 billion which was raised in a year from local and foreign donors as example of Banda’s own direct effort to ensure success and said most of the financial supporters had a close relation with Banda.
“Reducing maternal mortality was high up on her agenda so it was also placed high up on government’s agenda,” added Ngoma.
Tug of war
Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe had not yet responded to the questionnaire we sent, but the report claims duplicity of duties is not helping the initiative as the ministry has a department called Directorate of Reproductive Health also mandated to carry out similar duties.
Chipungu, however, dismissed such assertions, saying such friction does not exist.
“We have our own areas of focus so is RHU [Reproductive Health Unit],” he said.
Banda launched the initiative on safe
motherhood in April 2012 after getting to State House, seeking to achieve
excellence in maternal, neonatal health services and substantially
reduce the maternal and neonatal mortality rates.