White Ribbon Alliance

Juliana Malawi MP

MP Juliana Lunguzi New Champion for White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood

July 14, 2016
July 14, 2016
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Malawi

Lilongwe, Malawi – Malawian Member of Parliament Juliana Lunguzi signed on to be a Champion for White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Malawi (WRASM Malawi), during the first-ever Global Citizen Journalist Training for Midwives, which took place in Lilongwe July 12-14, 2016. Lunguzi, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, a registered nurse and a midwife, spoke to the Citizen Journalist Midwives.

“Midwives must be involved in the budget process, they need to be aware of how budgets are allocated to their own health facilities, and then check on how the money is being spent,” she said. Lunguzi also committed to taking the stories of midwives to the highest level as evidence of the policy changes that are badly needed to support midwifery as a profession, which in turn will save the lives of mothers and babies.

Address Malata, Vice President of the International Confederation of Midwives praised midwives and midwifery, telling them to be proud of their profession as they save lives every day. “Only you can tell the true story of midwifery in Malawi. You must share your experiences, talk about what is happening to women every day in our country. Midwives are in the position to be the best advocates for themselves and for the mothers and babies in their care.”

More than thirty midwives, at least one from each District of Malawi, completed the training in order to tell the true story of midwifery and birth across Malawi. They testify to the challenges and the rewards of their work. They routinely face severe shortages in staffing, medicines and equipment, but these midwives have responded with courage, innovation, passion and respectful care to save women’s and babies’ lives.

“I gave my own blood to save a woman’s life,” said one midwife. “I paid for fuel for the ambulance,” shared another. Other midwives have succeeded in advocating for a nursery which reduced baby deaths by half, and have given health talks to the community which brought an end to ruptured uterus problems in one maternity ward.

The Citizen Journalist Midwives also met with senior leaders from five of Malawi’s mainstream media houses during the week, eliciting commitments that their stories will be heard across the country.

“This is a very important initiative. We have not talked enough about safe motherhood. This is almost an emergency for Malawi,” said Samuel Chunga, Bureau Chief of Nation Newspapers Limited. “We will use your sources, we will use your stories to grab attention and have impact.”

“Maternal health is often shrouded in secrecy, but the figures should come out,” said Winston Mwale, Chief Sub Editor, of Zodiac Media House. “We need to bring out these stories and then solutions will be found.”

“We believe that change will come for mothers and midwives as the result of our collective efforts as Citizen Journalist Midwives,” said Mrs. Lennie Kamwendo, Chair of WRASM Malawi Board.

WRASM Malawi is part of a global organization comprised of 13 National Alliances advocating for safe motherhood. Our current focus is to elevate the voices of midwives as they are essential in saving lives of mothers and babies. We believe midwives are the best advocates for midwifery, and that their voices must be heard in policy making, planning, budgeting and implementation of health plans. Data from a ground breaking survey on how many midwives are really at the bedsides of women, information the government does not currently have, will be released later in July.

Contact: Nancy Kamwendo
National Coordinator
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Malawi