By: Michael Tembo
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with Last Mile Health (LMH) has trained a total of 26 trainers in Community Based Maternal and Neonatal Care (CBMNC) in Blantyre. These trainers have been drawn from Nsanje and Chikwawa and they will in turn train around 350 Community Health Workers in Nsanje and Chikwawa districts.
Speaking during the closure of the training workshop, Deputy Director in the Reproductive Health Directorate (RHD), Dr Henry Phiri expressed gratitude to Last Mile Health for technical and financial support for the training.
“Nsanje and Chikwawa have high Neonatal Deaths (NND) and maternal deaths (MD) and the skills and knowledge to be provided to CHWs on CBMNC will reduce this. The ministry is committed to work with partners to improve maternal and child health outcomes.” Said Phiri.
On his part, Country Director for Last Mile Health in Malawi, Dalitso Baloyi said that Malawi is among 18 countries in Sub-saharan Africa with the highest maternal mortality rates. This he said can be addressed if pregnant mothers and newborns have access to skilled CBMNC providers at community level, which at this moment is very low.
“As Last Mile Health, we exist to save lives in the remotest communities, one way to do this is through upskilling and reskilling community health workers (CHWs) to enable them deliver the Essential Health Package (EHP) at community level. For Nsanje and Chikwawa, we are focusing on CBMNC. We are delighted that through this training, CHWs will follow up and also when needed link women that have delivered at home to health facilities for continuum of care for the mother and new-born.” Highlighted Baloyi.
He further hinted that his organization will digitally empower Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) in Nsanje district to use the Integrated Community Health Information System (ICHIS) application at the point of care for decision support and avail data for decision making in improving community health performance and standards.
National Coordinator for CBMNC, Sophie Chimwenje said that the next step after this training is that these trainers will train a total of 350 Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) and Senior Health Surveillance Assistants (SHSAs), and Community Midwife Assistants (CMAs).
Apart from supporting upskilling of community health workers, Last Mile Health (LMH) is collaborating with the Ministry of Health in the design, development and deployment of ICHIS, developing community health supervision checklist, and supporting resource mobilization and utilization for community health. The organization is also collaborating with Ministries of Health to improve access to care for remote communities in Ethiopia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.