The programme seeks to decrease infant and mother morality in Malawi’s Kasungu and Ntchisi Districts through: increasing the knowledge of women and community members, increasing access to quality healthcare, increasing access of women of child bearing age and children to water, hygiene, and sanitation services, strengthening links between the Malawi Red Cross, affected communities, and healthcare facilities, and improving Malawi Red Cross’s health managing and implementation capacities. Maternal and infant morality rates in Malawi significantly exceed Millennium Development Goal standards, at 675 per 100,000 live births and 31 per 1,000 live births respectively. The causes of these high morality rates are birth complications, disease, and distance to health care facilities. In Malawi’s Ntchisi and Kasungu Districts, over 50% women and children travel more than five kilometres for treatment. All of these issues are magnified by a lack of capacity among birth attendants. Ntchisi and Kasungu fall well below the 58% national average of births attended by skilled providers, at 40% and 44% respectively. The project takes place in the Kasungu and Ntchisi Districts of Malawi.
Decreasing maternal and infant morality is taken on through building household and community resilience. This approach includes training in maternal and child care, sanitation, and disease, such as HIV, providing transportation to health facilities and water and sanitation equipment, and district-level meetings to aid resource and knowledge distribution.
The total number of beneficiaries is 71,400, 50,400 of which are women of reproductive age and 21,000 are babies under 1 year-old. Malawi Red Cross Society continues to work in partnership with Ministry of Health, UNICEF and Mai Khanda, a major stakeholder implementing maternal and neonatal project.