Mangochi Maternity Operation Theatre Prospects Excite MoH
UNFPA UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, has announced plans to build a new operating theatre at Mangochi maternity hospital to cater for pregnant women who are COVID-19 positive.
The project, which is scheduled for completion this December, has been hailed by Government saying it will ease pressure on the only operating theatre at the maternity facility.
“We have one theatre but it’s being overwhelmed because the maternity has on average about 50-60 newborns every day,” said Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda during the tour of the proposed construction site on Tuesday, adding, “Unfortunately, some of them require ceasarian section during delivery.”
UNFPA with funding by the UN Multi Partner Trust Funds (MPTF) already bought the equipment for the proposed theatre in Mangochi.
The construction of the new theatre comes at a time the district is grappling with poor maternal health indicators.
Teenage pregnancies has increased by 8.4 percentage points from 28 percent in 2010 to 36 percent in 2015, and is the fourth highest in the country.
This is not surprising as Mangochi has the highest proportion of women aged 15-24 in the country who had sexual intercourse before the age of 15 (22.6 percent), which is way above the national average of 13.9 percent.
As a country, Malawi is facing challenges to deal with child marriage and teen pregnancies.
Overall, child marriage stands at 50 percent, one of the highest in world and teen pregnancies are at 29 percent.
And sadly, 30 percent of all maternal deaths in the country occur in adolescents.
“Because of an increase in COVID-19 cases, we were forced us to close schools, which saw many young people staying idles in the villages,” said Kandodo-Chiponda, “and this in the end, has caused lots of teen pregnancies and early marriages. Mangochi is one of the districts in the country which has been hit very hard.”
Currently, government with support from partners such as UNFPA is providing SRH services to young people in the district through facility based youth friendly health services and mobile clinics.
Said Kandodo Chiponda: “Our partners, especially UNFPA, are assisting us in this programme. We are very grateful that they have also provided us with some motorbikes and bicycles so that the providers for these youth friendly health services can go even in the remotest areas to reach out to our young people.”
Commenting on the development, Sexual Reproductive Health Coordinator for UNFPA, Juliana Lunguzi said one of her organisation’s major mandates is to make sure that every pregnancy is safe and the woman has safe delivery.
“Women who are pregnant and COVID-19 positive, have so many challenges when they come to receive care especially in operating theatres,” said Lunguzi.
“Most of the health facilities have only one theatre so it means once you take care of a patient, you need to fumigate the room, which takes time. So, there are a few districts where we want to support the refurbishment of the place and put another theatre and one of them is Mangochi,” she said. Written by Joseph Scott UNFPA