Clothing for newborn babies

Knitted baby clothes
Knitted baby clothes
A 95-year-old woman in the Netherlands has knitted clothes for babies born in the maternity hospital of the Centre. These clothes are donated to mothers of newborn babies who can not afford to buy clothes themselves. Often these are people who work seasonally in wage labor, wich is the poorest population in northern Malawi.
Knitted baby clothes
Knitted baby clothes

The woman in the picture gave birth to her third child only a few hours before. She came to the maternity clinic with only a thin shawl for her baby. Grateful and proud she left home with her baby in knitted clothes.

Babie Boom in the region

Baby boom
Baby boom

In the last few weeks we have had more deliveries at the maternity clinic than usual: 16 in the last month.

This very encouraging trend gives us great satisfaction, as we witness the babies and their mothers in good health in the postnatal room.

We also had a baby girl born, whose mother gave the child my name (Jacqueline). That too gave a nice feeling!

Malnutrition prevention programme

As you may have read elsewhere on this site, we distribute food packages to seriously ill patients, to orphans who need them and to malnourished children. We have now extended this programme so that thirty or so undernourished children, babies in particular, are closely monitored and are given bottle feeds and milk. Coincidentally, the government programme of helping undernourished children has been extended. At the moment government employees visit the Centre once a week to weigh the children and to distribute special food packets to seriously undernourished children. Babies, however, fall outside this help and so have to rely on what the Centre can provide for them. The so-called hunger months of January to April are always difficult months when for many people the maize supply is run down or exhausted. Children in particular suffer in this period.

Clinic and maternity

Work in both the clinic and the maternity is going well. On 4 October a record daily number of babies – 4 – were born at the maternity, and we are continuing our efforts to persuade as many women as possible to deliver at our Maternity. We are also hard at work trying to reduce the barriers to pregnant women going for HIV testing.
Mosquito nets
Thanks to a government programme we were recently able to get 50 mosquito nets; these nets are intended for women who come to our maternity to deliver, women who come for the first time for ante-natal check-ups and mothers who take their children for the first time to be vaccinated. This distribution of mosquito nets is an extensive programme which is being carried out by the government in all health centres, whether clinic or hospital, and financed by UNICEF and USAID.
It is our hope that after receiving these mosquito nets the pregnant women will feel encouraged to turn up for ante-natal check-ups and later choose to come to our maternity to deliver.

HIV/Aids prevention, Mother/to/Child infection

At the centre we recently started a programme of prevention of HIV infection from pregnant mothers to their unborn babies. As a consequence, pregnant women who come to us for ante/natal check/ups are tested for HIV-AIDS. If they test positive, they are prescribed medicines which reduce the risk of their passing on the infection to their unborn child.
This has however led to the problem of women sometimes preferring not to be tested because of the stigma and taboo surrounding AIDS. Consequently, a number of women avoid going for an ante-natal check-up. And this is a problem: by doing so they run the risk of falling sick or suffering complications either during the pregnancy or during the delivery. With all this in mind, the Centre health workers involved in HIV/AIDS education will from now on focus particularly on pregnant women and their partners. Our aim will be to convince all pregnant women, along with their partners, that it is in their interest to get themselves tested and to come for their ante-natal check-ups.