Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios globally, currently estimated at 574 maternal deaths per 100,000 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 29 per 1,000 live births. 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. To do this, USAID integrates high-impact, evidence-based practices into activities that address vital MNCH issues in households, communities, and health facilities. USAID works with the Government of Malawi’s (GoM) Ministry of Health to ensure an MNCH focus in district and central level health activities.
Debbie Devoe, CRS
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 care.
In FY14, USAID:
- Helped 92 health facilities in15 districts provide all seven internationally recommended Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care life-saving interventions, called “signal functions,” and quality improvement activities;
- Provided uterotonics in the third stage of labor to 227,973 women;
- Provided Misoprostol to 6,490 pregnant women, preventing postpartum hemorrhage;
- Trained 113 private sector and 76 public and NGO sector providers on Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) and distributed HBB equipment to 103 health facilities in seven districts;
- Trained 800 health workers in Kangaroo Mother Care and established or strengthened 144 Kangaroo Mother Care sites;
- Procured and distributed vital MNCH supplies and equipment, including forceps; Anglepoise lamps; delivery kits; drum sterilizers for surgical instruments; penguin suckers for clearing baby’s airways; partographs, which graphically represent key data during labor; ambu bags, which force air into asphyxiated babies’ lungs; complete HBB sets; and Neonatalies, inflatable simulators to teach basic neonatal resuscitation skills;
- Worked with the GoM to roll out pneumococcal vaccine, which was administered to 89% of children younger than 12 months; and
- Along with the GoM’s Expanded Program on Immunization, ensured 81% of children less than 12 months received Rotavirus vaccine and 89% of targeted children received DPT3 (a combined vaccine against Diptheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus) by 12 months.
No woman should die giving birth; eliminating neonatal and child mortality is possible.
- Ministry of Health
- Save the Children
- Abt Associates
- Rice University
- World Learning
- John Hopkins CCP
Peter Halpert, Health Office Chief
Last updated: April 13, 2015