Male involvement in issues of safe motherhood is said to have improved tremendously in Traditional Authority Mwambo in Zomba following the introduction of Radio Listening Clubs.
Radio Listening Clubs coordinator for the area, William Chilomoni, said through the introduction of the clubs it has been easy to reach out to men to raise awareness on the importance of their involvement in maternal, post-natal and new-born health issues.
“Earlier, a lot of men were hesitant to be involved when their wives fell pregnant such that they were not aware of what was supposed to happen during such times.
“They thought that safe motherhood messages were strictly for mothers at ante-natal and under-five clinics, but through our three radio listening clubs of Tiyanjane, Tadala and Mitole, we have reached out to men in different forums where we encourage them to take part in safe motherhood,” said Chilomoni.
He explained that Tiyanjane Listening Club has reached out to 10,160 people in 18 awareness meetings where they have made impact on family planning, childbirth, vaccination as well as under-five health.
Village Headman Mwazaonga said radio listening clubs were making positive contribution on the lives of people in his area as evidenced by the adoption of family planning methods by most families in his area, which has resulted in reduced fertility rates.
“In 2016, I received reports about 16 births in my village but in 2017 the number of births reported decreased to eight, which is a clear sign that men and women in my area have embraced the use of birth control methods,” said the village headman.
In her remarks, Deputy Maternity Nursing In – Charge at Likangala Health Centre, Mphatso Mlemba, said so far 95 per cent of pregnant women who attend ante-natal clinics at the facility were accompanied by their spouses.
“Out of 100 women who come here for ante-natal, 95 come with husbands, something that has prompted us to give them, as families, all the necessary counselling on nutrition and disease prevention among other important pieces of advice.
“The trend has also made the centre to progress on the issue of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) since we are registering high numbers of babies born free of HIV because both parents have the necessary information,” said Mlemba.
The radio listening clubs are a brainchild of Youth Net and Counselling through the Every Woman, Every Child (EWEC) Project that aims at promoting social accountability among communities on issues of health.
Written by Yamikani Yapuwa/Mana