Communities around Mayaka in Traditional Authority Chikowi in Zomba have appealed to government and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) to help them build a health centre in their quest to promote safe motherhood in the area.
The communities made the plea on Friday during an interface meeting with the media organised by Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) saying they already have a site, bricks and sand as their contribution towards the much-needed health facility.
Melia Nandolo, chairperson for Chenjerani Radio Listening Club, which mobilised the communities to take part in moulding the bricks, said the nearest health facility is Mayaka Health Centre, which is 16 kilometres away.
“Group village head Chiwamba gave us a site for the hospital for free and the communities from six surrounding Group Village Heads moulded the bricks and burnt a kiln as well as sand.
“This is a demonstration of our commitment towards this need for a health centre where people can access services for free unlike in the case in some surrounding health centres where services are paid for,” Nandolo said.
The area is surrounded by Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) health centres like Mayaka, Pirimiti, Ngwelero, and Matiya with an average of 20 kilometres away, a situation that is said to make many women miss attending antenatal clinics and post-natal care
However, of the community members, Fanny Muheya, said that the communities around Group Village Heads Henry, Buleya, Chiwamba and Kuchilimba have meanwhile managed to build an under-five clinic in Chanda.
“Women were supposed to take their children to Mayaka Health Centre. So, the radio listening club mobilised group villages heads around here and explained to them on the need to have an under-five clinic.
“Using our own resources, we managed to build this facility which is now providing under-five clinic and antenatal services,” Muheya said.
Disease Control and Health Surveillance Assistant at Chanda Clinic Joeackim Ghambi said much as there is the clinic, communities still need a proper health centre which can have maternal facilities in order to reduce the number of home deliveries in the area.
“In 2017 alone, the area registered 34 Births before Arrival (BBA) at Mayaka Health Centre because of long distances to Chanda and that the clinic does not have labour facilities.
“So, for us to change these figures, we need a health centre which is near to the women because now we cannot be encouraging them to seek hospital services when there is none within their vicinity,” Ghambi said.