Just four months ago, Chikangawa MamaYe Activists, together with community leaders and community members, organised a 16km big walk to raise money for an ambulance. During this organized big walk, the community was able to raise K250,000. Click here or here for more on the big walk.
The big walk was planned following the death of a mother while giving birth at the local health facility. The mother could have been saved if the facility had an ambulance readily available. Fortunately the baby survived.
The activists did not stop there as they continued to lobby and advocate for more funds to buy an ambulance. And following countless efforts, such as writing letters to potential sponsors, one company saw the need to come in and assist with a donation of MK 1 million!
During the cheque presentation, Mr. Nebson Chilooko, Managing Director for Kawandama Hills Company, said he was moved by the efforts and commitment shown by the community led by the MamaYe activists. As Nebson said,
I grew up in this area and I am a proud citizen of this community. I was in pain when I heard the struggles pregnant women go through that I called together my management team and decided to make this donation.
Kawandama Hills Company is one of the sawmill companies around Chikangawa whose employees patronise the health facility to access services.
Nebson further said he was proud to be associated with the campaign of reducing maternal and newborn deaths in the area through this donation.
In his remarks, Dr. Lumbani Munthali, District Health Officer, commended the commitment and dedication the MamaYe activists showed and have continued to work hard leading to reduction of maternal and newborn deaths. Dr. Munthali said when receiving the cheque;
Over the past few months, we have seen the dedication of these MamaYe activists mobilising resources for the health center. Such dedication and commitment towards reduction of maternal and newborn health needs all the support it deserves.
Dr. Munthali also hailed the support from MamaYe which includes donation of oxygen concentrators during last year’s Mothers Day Fun Run.
Dr. Munthali further told the community that the health facility will benefit from the new stock of drugs worth MK360 million which the district has received in order to address the drug shortage.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Elizabeth Kaliyande, the chairperson of MamaYe activists group emphasised that the group will carry on working to make sure that no mother dies while giving birth. Elizabeth also recognised the important role and support the traditional leaders give the activists in granting them access to their communities to spread messages of maternal and newborn health.
Mzimba district has a population of about 636,000 and has 31 health centres. It currently has less than four working ambulances used to serve the whole district. The community led by the MamaYe activists have so far raised MK1,250,000 towards a target of K15 million for the purchase of the new ambulance.
Elizabeth further said they will continue to knock on doors to mobilise the remaining funds to buy the much needed ambulance. She also called upon her fellow activists to continue the work of MamaYe following the training and skills they have acquired to ensure that no mother dies while giving birth.