Iceland Pledges More Support on Maternal Health
The Icelandic government has reaffirmed its commitment to help Malawi achieving good Maternal health care, saying for people to enjoy their health rights, services have to be given close to their homes.
Programs director at the embassy of Iceland in Malawi, Kristjana Sigurbjornsdottir, said this in Mangochi after handing over a 7 thousand kwacha worth cheque, to communities around Chiponde health Centre to acquire land for a maternity wing at the facility.
The government of Iceland started constructing the maternity wing at the facility some years ago but stalled in 2016 due to a land dispute after another person claimed that construction was done on his land and got a court injunction.
But according to communities, with guidance from the district council, they settled for an outside court agreement with the person to pay him 10 million kwachas for them to fully own the land and allow the project to continue.
“I will take this as a very positive milestone, and am very excited to be here on behalf of the embassy of Iceland to follow this through,” said Kristjana, after handing over the cheque to the community who will add the remaining 3 million kwacha from the constituency development fund.
She said what the people have shown is a testimony to the empowerment of the people, as they have been able to take matters into their own hands and resolve in a peaceful and participatory manner.
“They have shown in practice that they care what happens to this maternity, they care about the women and unborn children here at Chiponde, that now almost traveled 20 kilometers away from their homes just to give birth in a safe environment,” said Kristjana, while promising that they will monitor until the project is fully finished.
Senior Traditional Authority Jalasi, who received the cheque on behalf of the community thanked the government of Icelandic for the gesture and pledged to take care of the facility once it's finished.
The senior chiefs also thanked the district council for guidance through the wrangles but asked it to make sure that land deeds for such facilities have been processed to avoid future challenges.
Mangochi District Commissioner, Dr. Raphael Piringu, agreed with the chief saying the process to have deeds started already, and thanked the community in the area for working together to have their development back.
Chiponde health Centre assists over 25 thousand people according to its in-charged Bridget Sabola Kampango.