WRA Malawi Holds Citizens Hearings, Drawing Thousands to Discuss Challenges & Solutions
June 25, 2016This month, White Ribbon Alliance Malawi (WRA Malawi) organized citizens’ hearings in ten districts to discuss the need for more midwives in health centers across the country. Between 100-800 people attended each event and the list of participants included men and women, as well as traditional authority chiefs, village elders, religious and political leaders, hospital staff and the media.
Every single district raised the issue of disrespect and abuse of midwives and community members were encouraged to report such instances to the responsible authorities. Another significant area of discussion centered around contributing factors to maternal mortality, including child marriage, lack of family planning, absence of clean water and supplies, and shortages of midwives at health facilities.
More than an opportunity to voice challenges, these meetings helped move the issues forward with local leaders making a commitments to draft and pass a set of bylaws to prevent child marriage in one district and secure a building for a health clinic and additional midwives in another.
This work is part of the White Ribbon Alliance global midwifery campaign supported by HP+ and administered by Palladium. In Malawi, we work from district to district to help raise awareness about the important role midwives currently play in improving maternal and newborn health, as well as the expanded roles they should be afforded at the policy table and beyond.