This International Women’s Day E4A-MamaYe recognises Elizabeth (Eliza) Kaliyande, a MamaYe Super Activists from Chikangawa, south of Mzimba district in Malawi. She is just one of the many bold activists, both men and women, who have been trained by MamaYe to advocate for improvement and availability of resources at local health centres.
In her local community, Eliza is one of the few women who has taken it upon her heart as a mission to ensure that no woman or baby dies from any complications at the facility or due to any challenge which could have been addressed if everybody had taken part.
The world cannot survive without a mother. A mother is a very important being in a society, so it is my responsibility to ensure that a mother gets the best care when she goes to a health facility.
Latest data highlights that in urban regions of Malawi only 59% of women are receiving at least 4 antenatal visits, a rate that is 10% higher than in rural areas (Malawi DHS 2015-16). In urban areas, 95% of live births are assisted by a skilled provider, whereas in rural areas only 89% of births are assisted (Malawi DHS 2015-16).
Eliza, together with her fellow activists, uses any opportunity, to sensitise all mothers on the importance of delivering their baby at a health facility with skilled health workers.
"We tell them that a baby born at home lacks some care and is exposed to infections as compared to a baby born at a health facility. But also, a baby born at a health facility is able to get a vaccination at a good time. So I can confidently say that because of my activeness, no baby has died".
Earlier this year Eliza, alongside fellow activists, organised a march where they delivered a petition to the ward councillor; petitioning him to address some of the shortfalls at the local health facility such as lack of clean water, bed space and an ambulance.
In a society where women are not usually at the forefront of activism work, Eliza has overcome all sorts of abuse from her male counterparts.
I tell them that I as a woman, and trained by MamaYe, I have the responsibility to tell the community that we all have the responsibility to sensitise the community on the dangers our pregnant women face.
We all have the responsibility to, like Eliza, be bold for change.
Join MamaYe this International Women’s Day in celebrating the bold women in your communities.