News: Men supporting maternal health in Dowa

By Bright Malenga – Malawi24

The Parent and Child Health Initiative (PACHI) has said its social accountability project has created an enabling environment for men in the areas of Traditional Authorities Chiwere and Msakambewa in Dowa district to start escorting their pregnant wives to the antenatal clinics.

The organisation said this has been achieved through the formation of the Citizen Voices in the communities through Bwalos (citizen forums).


Men are now escorting their pregnant wives to the hospital in Dowa

The forums have also led to the communities holding  duty bearers accountable to all the projects which are being implemented in the two Traditional Authorities.

Speaking in an interview, PACHI’s Dowa District project coordinator Raphael Chikadza said the project has the main goal of supporting locally led efforts to mobilise public demand for accountability.

Chikadza said the project has made progress of collecting data for dashboard evidence which is shared to all the partners and duty bearers leading them responding to the evidence.

“Data coming from the health facilities is entered in a dashboard for analysis such as maternal deaths and blood availability issues with the quick scorecard assessing the health facilities on how they are fairing in e.g ambulances, nurses and drugs,” he said.

The coordinator said currently the communities surrounding Nalunga health centre in the area of Traditional Authority Chiwere in the district have mobilised themselves in moulding and burning 602,000 bricks, a development which he attributed to Bwalos (Citizen Voices) for doing a commendable job in the areas.

He thanked the communities of the two Traditional Authorities Chiwere and Msakambewa for taking a bigger role of fixing motorcycle ambulances with the DHO supplying fuel saying this has reduced transportation challenges faced by pregnant women when travelling to the health facilities of the district.

“Even though the project is registering success stories, it is also meeting some challenges such as other achievements or standards to be met need innovations and collaborations e.g training of Health Advisory Committees, establishment of a viable Youth Friendly Health Services and male involvement,” he said.

In his remarks, Dowa District Council’s Acting Directorate of Planning and Development Martin Pindamkono said the project has really helped the rights holders in demanding accountability from the duty bearers of the district.

Pindamkono asked all NGOs implementing governance components in the district to work together so that all the communities in the district are reached out with messages for them to stand by their rights.