The Presidential Initiative on Safe Motherhood, which President Joyce Banda launched a few months ago, caused excitement at the just-ended East, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) health ministers' conference in Arusha, Tanzania.
The two-day conference, which ended yesterday, was preceded by an experts committee meeting which pooled together senior media practitioners and health ministry spokespersons in the region as ECSA strategic arm on information and advocacy on health issues.
Making a ministerial statement, deputy Health Minister Halima Daud said under the initiative, government is construct¬ing holding shelters for expectant women throughout the country.
"This enables the women to come to health facilities in good time, hence reducing maternal mortality rate and fistula conditions by avoiding the use of Traditional Birth Attendants [TBAs]," she said.
Government banned the services of TBAs as one way of fighting maternal mortality in the country.
Daud told the conference Malawi has accelerated the provision of child-health care by introducing a number of vaccines. She said more initiatives are in the pipeline.
"We introduced PCV vaccine [for pneumonia] and Rotavirus which aims to fight diarrhoea. We have also sent a proposal to our partners to introduce Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine to fight cervical cancer in young women and girls," she said.
Pneumonia is the second most common condition for admission in children in Malawi after malaria.
At the meeting, ECSA launched a fistula care curriculum for nurses and midwives as well as patient-centred care charter for its members. The ministers were also updated on the establishment of the ECSA College of Health Sciences which aims to act as a model for member states.