The Maternity Worldwide and African Child Trust have partnered Malawi’s First Lady Getrude Mutharika in her continued effort to promote girl child education, encourage investment in health by raising awareness on the need of Cervical cancer screening, maternal health awareness and voluntary HIV testing.

Maternity Worldwide Executive Director Dr. Adrian Brown and African Child Trust Chief Dr Kunle Onabolu disclosed this when they had an audience with Madame Mutharika on Tuesday in London.

Dr. Brown said although his organization is already working in Malawi, they will work with the office of the First Lady who will work as an ambassador in helping women and girls access the high quality maternal health care they need to be able to give birth safely.

On his part, Onabolu said his organization will support the First Lady efforts to provide scholarships to the needy girls and building hostels for girls across the country, so as to encourage girls to be completing secondary school education.

Speaking during the meeting, the First Lady hailed the organizations for the commitments saying education for the girl child is one of the key factors in eliminating poverty, reducing the contraction and effects of preventable diseases and enhancing nation building endeavors on a larger scale.

The First Lady reiterated on why she decided to focus her energies through Beautify Malawi Trust (BEAM) on the girl child as an anchor to real development.

“My passion is to see that all children in Malawi are educated. Unfortunately, the most school drop outs have been young girls due to unconducive environments for learning.

“Policy makers, researchers, academics and leaders in the health sector have all come to agree on the notion that educating the girl child is one of the surest ways of attaining meaningful development.” she said.

Informed by the foregoing notion, the First Lady highlighted several of the interlocking areas which are interventions that go hand in hand with the welfare of girls and their empowerment in that same vein.

She pointed out the progress that Malawi has made in certain areas of these interventions. These include reduction of child mortality by two thirds through implementation of several programs. Among these programs is construction of maternal waiting homes for pregnant women and their guardians so as to ensure they receive clinical attention efficiently and on time.

Madame Mutharika also mentioned the training of community midwifery assistants (CMAs) who have increased awareness and service delivery among women in communities. The communities further get involved through mobilization of traditional leaders who are the agents of change in Malawi society.

On HIV/AIDS Madame Mutharika who is also the Vice President of Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA)said Malawi was the first country globally to endorse the UNAIDS 90.90.90 Campaign, a United Nations plan aimed at ending the spread of HIV by 2020 and eliminate the disease altogether by 2030.

“Our new National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS clearly outlines how by 2020 we will ensure that 90% of people living with HIV know their sero-status, 90% of those with HIV are receiving treatment and 90% of those on treatment are virally suppressed,” said Madame Mutharika.

She, however, observed that despite the gains made in other areas Malawi is still paying close attention to increasing treatment among children born with the virus. Currently, only three out of ten HIV positive children are receiving treatment, a situation the First Lady called unacceptable.

In addition, she said with modern technologies, Malawi should completely eliminate mother-to-child-transmission.mana

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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