Emergency Appeal: Malawi

Severe flooding is jeopardising our lifesaving work in southern Malawi. We are asking for urgent donations to help mitigate the damage, particularly now in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.

Heavy rains and floods are preventing pregnant women and new mothers from accessing medical knowledge, maternal healthcare facilities and the expertise of trained healthcare providers. Electricity and water supplies are disrupted; the President of Malawi has declared a state of disaster in affected areas [1]. At present, almost 83,000 local people have been displaced, 577 have been injured and 56 have lost their lives in the storms [2]. Many other families have lost their houses, goods, crops and livestock.

 In 2014, Maternity Worldwide’s Muffins for Midwives appeal paid for Robert’s midwifery training and living costs. He now works at the CHC community hospital at Pirimiti, southern Malawi. Earlier this week, he sent us these photographs from his home village. His parents and relatives have lost animals, possessions and in some cases, their homes but as Robert says “That was it but thank God lives have been saved.”

Impassable roads and breakdowns in infrastructure are preventing women from getting to a safe place to give birth, leading to deaths which could otherwise have been avoided. Health facilities now have extra demands on their resources in addition to many healthcare workers – including some of our own staff and midwives – being among those directly affected by the weather conditions.

As well as acute clinical care, Maternity Worldwide has been successfully promoting community maternal health promotion and income generation activities through women’s groups run by trained local volunteers. These activities, which empower and support women’s long-term independence, are also severely challenged by the current situation. You can read more about our work in Malawi here.

Maternity Worldwide is working with local communities in the Zomba district of Malawi to identify and help expectant mothers who are trapped and displaced by the floods. We have a vision where all mothers, wherever they live in the world, can give birth safely and without fear, therefore we are calling on people to donate to our special appeal and help us sustain our projects in Malawi at this difficult time.

We will use the money raised by this appeal to:

  • Ensure people in affected areas continue to seek antenatal and postnatal care, using local facilitators to identify displaced and otherwise vulnerable women and families in need
  • Enable better access to health facilities otherwise impeded by floods, reducing delays for women in reaching a safe place to give birth
  • Support local clinicians delivering care at health facilities, at a time when resources are oversubscribed

Together we can help relieve the long-term effects of this natural disaster but we need your support. Please click here to donate.

Update: 28 March 2019

Photos from Kumpasa village in Pirimiti catchment area, southern Malawi. We have now had information from 72 of the 80 villages in the area and are visiting the last eight today.

Great news is that we’ve received an incredibly generous £4,000 from Festival Medical Services for our emergency appeal to help local communities rebuild.