Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios globally, currently estimated at 675 maternal deaths per100,000 live births. Adolescent pregnancies comprise 25% of all births and 20% of maternal deaths. Neonatal mortality, often caused by birth asphyxia, premature birth and infection, is estimated at 31 per 1,000 live births. Neonatal mortality comprises 31% of under-five mortality, which is 112 per 1,000 live births, according to the 2010 Malawi Demographic Health Survey. Causes of under-five mortality include malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.
USAID’s global Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) goal is ending preventable child and maternal deaths in a generation. USAID integrates evidence-based MNCH practices into activities in households, communities, and health facilities, and works with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to incorporate an MNCH focus into district and central level health activities.
USAID provides a continuum of care for women and children. Priorities include:
- Strengthening Maternal and Neonatal Health policies, standards, and guidelines;
- Mobilizing communities for increased adoption of individual, household, and community behaviors that positively impact the health of mothers and newborns; and
- Training health workers in basic emergency obstetric and neonatal and child care.
In FY 2013, USAID renovated 226 health facilities and provided the following critical supplies and equipment:
- 35 incubators;
- 67 manual suction machines, 48 electric suction machines, and 64 vacuum extractors for assisting difficult vaginal deliveries;
- 588 five-liter Chlorhexidine for use as a surgery disinfectant;
- 5 MamaNatalie birth simulators, which are used to train technicians in complex and normal birthing scenarios;
- 1,493 delivery kits, which include inexpensive tools that help mothers and babies avoid acquiring infections during childbirth;
- 102 NeoNatalie resuscitators and1,110 NeoNatalie Suction, both designed to teach initial steps of resuscitation in the first ten minutes of a newborn’s life;
- 10 Helping Babies Breath (HBB) facilitator sets, which help health workers treat and save babies born with asphyxia; and
- 300 NeoNatalie complete sets for building health worker’s child birthing skills.
One maternal death is one too many; eliminating neonatal and child mortality is possible.
Funding (FY 2013)
- Ministry of Health
- Save the Children
- Abt Associates
- Rice University
- World Learning
Last updated: July 14, 2014