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Improving the care and standards of maternity wards


The state of maternity wards in Malawi is extremely discouraging as compared to those of surrounding countries. Most health facilities do not have adequate space to accommodate mothers and as a result these mothers end up sleeping in hospital corridors or tents and in extreme cases they sleep outside.


Pregnant women are required to have at least four antenatal visits however only 56% of mothers from rural areas are able to meet this requirement. Therefore there’s a large number of women who are left with potential complications unchecked which can result in maternal death if they’re not brought nearer to the primary and secondary health facilities. Monitoring of patients is not done to required quality of care standards which is not being achieved by mid-wives and clinicians. Mentorships and training are not being targeted which is where problems truly arise because it is difficult to implement interventions that resolve the several issues that exist

It was recorded that there are 634 maternal deaths recorded per 100 000 live births and there 4200 maternal deaths recorded per year. The issues that have been stated are that the workforce is not equal to the number of pregnant women, that is, mid-wives have a certain ratio that they are assigned and due to an overflow of patients they have an increased workload. The infrastructure is also old and contributes to the lack of capacity for hospitals to care for these women. Lack of resources is also a contributing factor, resources such as equipment that is required for the resuscitation of both infants and mothers is not available. Allocation of midwives is also inefficient, for example who takes responsibility for replenishing items in the delivery rooms. Another issue is the decontamination process due to lack of autoclaves for sterilization.


There are several organisations that have implemented programmes in rural parts of the country to combat the depleting standards of maternal wards in Malawi. Activities and workshops are also being held in order