A matter of life and birth in Malawi

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Nov 26 2012, 00:01:18

A chronic shortage of medical staff and facilities in Malawi has led to the adoption of task-sharing among health workers, which is having a positive effect on family planning and obstetric care

Rosemary Banda's son Adam was stillborn 38 years ago. When she was eventually seen by a traditional birth attendant in a remote Malawian village, it was too late. She was 16 years old.

"I was not able to conceive again and was disowned by my family," she says. Banda now lives abroad and raises funds to help young mothers in Malawi. As a way of dealing with the trauma of losing her only child, she has created an image for herself of what Adam would have become - a well-dressed, smiling doctor helping young mothers. "Now I'm helping them instead of him," she says.

"We only have about 300 doctors in Malawi and 2,000 registered nurses," says Dorothy Ngoma, newly appointed national co-ordinator for safe motherhood in the Office of the President. "But we try to do everything we can to ensure that family planning services are available to all women, especially in the rural areas."

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