United Nations Children’s Fund deputy representative (UNICEF) Roisin De Burca said the 60 ambulances which UNICEF has donated to Malawi will help in improving access to health services for the needy and lead to reductions in deaths and long term complications.

De Burca said this when she officially handed over the ambulances to the Minister of Heath Dr Jean Kalilani in Lilongwe on Friday.

She said in Malawi a woman faces 1 in 34 life time risk of maternal death and that mothers and newborns die of preventable diseases and conditions.

De Burca said “The ambulances are aimed at increasing access to and utilization of key underutilized commodities that are recognized to save millions of lives of mothers, newborns and children.”

De Bursa explained that Malawi has managed to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) number 4 in reducing child mortality ahead of the target date.

Receiving the first 30 of 60 ambulances on behalf of Malawi Government Minister of Health Dr Jean Kalilani said the ambulances will help to strengthen the health system.

“The ambulances and other equipment and supplies made available through this project will improve our health system to provide the highest quality of care, and empower communities to utilize health services appropriately and to be involved in their management,” said Kalilani.

Kalilani then added that to reach every woman and child, specific interventions and projects needed to be designed and implemented in ways that can maximize return on investment.

She said about 4000 Malawian women die from pregnancy related complications every year.

“So the ambulances will offer reliable services, and are essential to proving emergency and live-saving care. Therefore, 12 districts that account for the greatest burden of maternal and child deaths were identified. The districts chosen, account for roughly two thirds of the national burden of childhood deaths,” added Kalilani.

Blantyre and Lilongwe will receive five each; Dowa three, Kasungu, Zomba, Dedza, Thyolo, Mzimba North, Mchinji and Ntcheu will receive 2 each; and Mzimba South, Mangochi, and Mulanje one each. The remaining 30 will be delivered in July and will also be distributed in same districts and with similar numbers.

The ambulances were donated by UNICEF and the United Nations Commission on Life Saving Communities Commodities through the Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Trust Fund.MANA

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