Bwalo mobilisation improves maternal and child health in Dowa

Inorder to improve maternal health care in Dowa, communities in have taken a step further to address transportation problems to the nearest health facility in the area.

Pregnant women from the area travel long distances to access maternal care at Mwanga Health center. The facility is situated at a distance of 20 kilometers away, challenged with 6 rivers connecting the facility and the communities.

Previously the pregnant women used to cross rivers to reach the nearest health facility. This negatively affected their lives as some women could deliver on the way before reaching the facility. This posed a threatening environment for pregnant women hence contributing to home deliveries and maternal and neonatal deaths.


Access to maternal health service remained a challenge

Chikudzo Bwalo, born from the social accountability project Every Woman Every Child has empowered, increased citizen participation as they identify pressing issues and find solutions. They address problems being faced in the communities, they refer some to duty bearers and demand for quality services.

In one of their regular gatherings, the discussed issues affecting lives of mothers and babies. They identified “poor access to health care” as priority issue affecting lives of mothers. Pregnant women were struggling to access good health care due to broken bridges as such the Bwalo took it as priority issue.

Bwalo members with support from Traditional leaders mobilized the communities on ways how to tackle the problem. They suggested monetary contributions towards rehabilitation of bridges. They engaged all chiefs and all households in the catchment area and managed to rehabilitate Katope, Namizu, Kauluzi, Njere, Gaga and Kayaza bridges.


Kayaza Bridge after rehabilitation 

Fatness Manjomeka, one of the beneficiaries of the facility from Chikudzo had to say this “I lost my relative on the way to Mwangala Health center, we failed to cross the river when she was about to deliver.”

In his remarks the senior HSA at Mwangala health centre Mr Justice Yona said “this area was registering an average 5 home deliveries and 2-maternal deaths a month; now things have changed, and this is an old story of the day, for the past four months no home delivery or maternal death has been reported.”

Senior Group Village Headman Chesalino applauded Bwalo members for assisting to contribute to the reduction of maternal and child deaths through social responsibility of the citizens.

“Through the Bwalos we have seen a positive impact towards the reduction of maternal and neonatal deaths, the barrier is nolonger there, transportation has been made easy”  He said.

Bwalo forum, an initiative by PACHI, within the RMNCAH social accountability for Every Woman Every Child project (EWEC) aims at improving maternal and child health care through Citizen Voices.