Wednesday 23 April, 2014. It is around 6am in the morning in Balaka district. Group village headman Khoswe is preparing to go to the garden. He saw his brother in-law running towards his house as he was about to start leaving.
"Your sister is in labour pains. She has been crying since morning. I have tried all means but I have failed", Mr Jepheter Josiah told Group village Khoswe on that Wednesday morning.
So, Group Village headman rushed to Jepheter’s house. He found his sister groaning with labour pains. He had to do something to save the life of his only remaining sister. He said, "I quickly had to organize transport and took my sister to Balaka district hospital. By this time, my sister had started losing blood".
Two hours later, we were at Balaka district hospital. The doctor did not hesitate to tell us the patient needed blood transfusion. She was in a very bad condition. But he told us the hospital did not have even a single pint of blood. "I volunteered to donate blood to my sister. I didn’t want to lose her. The blood that I donated saved her life and she is alive until today".
Upon coming back to his village, group village headman Khoswe thought of doing something to save the lives of pregnant mothers. The situation he met and saw at Balaka district hospital the previous day made him thinking. But he had no clue on what to do to help Balaka district hospital save the lives of pregnant mothers.
"So, on April 29th I received visitors from MamaYe and Malawi Blood Transfusion Services (MBTS). They told us they are conducting blood collection campaign. I didn’t waste time to join them because this was the chance for me to help save lives of my sisters and aunties here at Khoswe".
Group village headman explained during the first round of blood collection in his village in April 2014, MBTS collected 39 pints, second round which took place in August 2014, MBTS collected 38 pints and in April 2015, they collected 56 paints.
This made us people of Khoswe village to be a model village in blood donation. No other village here in Traditional Authority Msamala had ever beaten us in blood donation. We are pacesetters in blood donation here in Balaka.
Acting head of MBTS in Balaka Daniel Malikebu commended MamaYe for a continued collaboration in blood mobilization not only in Balaka but other districts. Malikebu said,
We accept the fact that we still have demand of blood but I can assure you the collaboration between MBTS and MamaYe has helped us collect enough blood to help assist people in Balaka.
And Balaka is one shinning district in Malawi which has, since 2014, not registered maternal deaths due to lack of blood. Balaka district Lab technician Elton Dzimbiri attributes the positive development to collaboration among MamaYe, MBTS and people of Khoswe and other villages in Balaka.
Dzimbiri said, "as a district hospital, we require at least 280 pints of blood per month. Before coming in of MamaYe and other stakeholders we were not reaching this requirement. But I can tell you that now we are getting at least 240 pints of blood per month. Balaka district never runs out of blood. And since 2014 no woman has ever died here due to lack of blood".