Improving Maternal and Newborn Health in Rural Zomba – Impact Report

Maternity Worldwide Impact Report 2020

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world with over 50% of the population living below the poverty line. The current population of 18.2 million is increasing with a birth rate of 2.8% per annum. 51% of the population is female1. At the start of this project the maternal mortality ratio was 370 per 100,000 live births. Zomba District is in the Southern Region and according to Malawian National Statistics Office (2008), there were 820,309 people, in 149,524 households with a population density of 230 persons per km², more than half (52.6%) of whom are 18 years or younger. There are 22 health centres, one central hospital (tertiary) and the national psychiatric hospital. Some people continue to get medical treatment from traditional practitioners and traditional birth attendants.

Between 2015-2018, the Big Lottery Fund supported a three-year integrated maternal and newborn health programme in Zomba (extended into 2019), aimed at improving access to quality maternal care and empowering communities. Maternity Worldwide ran the project in partnership with the local Catholic Healthcare Commission (CHC) which operates six of the health facilities
in the District. The project focused on communities in two Traditional Authority areas in Zomba district (Chikowi and Mwambo) covering 80 villages and worked with the CHC community hospital at Pirimiti and two health centres at Magomero and Matiya.

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