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Maternal deaths worry Mangochi local chief

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Long distances in between hospitals in Mangochi have been reported to be contributing negatively to the fight against maternal and child mortality rate in the district.

This was gathered on Wednesday when Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) donated a bicycle ambulance to Kafucheche Village in the area of Traditional Authority Chimwala in Mangochi.

The donation was made under the Early Childhood Development (ECD) project, which Macoha is implementing in the district with funding from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa).

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Speaking in an interview after the donation, Village Head Kafucheche claimed that he is losing a lot of pregnant women and under-five children due to distances which patients are supposed to travel to get to a nearest hospital, Mangochi District Hospital, which is situated at over 14 kilometres from the village.

Kafucheche said for a long time, women from his village have been forced to deliver in bushes on their way to the hospital, some losing lives in the process, a situation which he said could have been avoided if the area had a clinic nearby.

“We hope this ambulance will help us to reach to the hospital in time because the situation has been dire considering that when our women deliver at home, they are denied treatment at the hospital due to a government policy which prohibits women from delivering at home,” Kafucheche said.

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With a population of about 1.2 million people, Mangochi has 48 working health centres. At the moment, there are five health centres which government is failing to open, despite construction of some of the facilities being completed 19 years ago. If opened, these facilities could have improved access to health facilities in some areas like Kafucheche.

Macoha Project Coordinator, Elvis Katete, indicated that his organisation is interested to see that pregnant women and under-five children are living in an environment that can help them prevent various complications which can lead to disabilities.

“Access to health services is so critical in preventing disabilities. We believe the ambulance will motivate parents to take their children to hospitals to prevent complications when children are developing into adults,” said Katete

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