Improved Care Access Initiative (Imcai) set off on Friday in Blantyre marked the beginning of the long walk to change mothers’ lives in Malawi.
Imcai launched the 16 day campaign – dubbed Maternal Health Awareness Campaign – which will run until June 9.
Imcai’s Executive Director Dan Kawaye said the big walk will be completed in 12 days.
“The big walk is being led by six nurse midwives. We have some outreach points along the road including girls’ secondary schools and market places with the aim of reaching out to girls and women,” said Kawaye in a statement released before the big walk started.
The last day of the awareness will be marked by Midwifery Open Day at Masintha Ground where a number of activities have been organised in partnership with a number of organisations.
Imcai is working with Banja La Mtsogolo, that will offer HTC services, family planning pills and condoms; Malawi Blood Transfusion will collect blood from donors; White Ribbon Alliance will engage women and girls to join in What Women Want Campaign and Light House Trust will offer breast and cervical cancer screening.
Kawaye said the event will be done every year in May which will coincide with International Day of the Midwife.
“Apart from the special campaigns addressing maternal health issues, we also want to improve health-seeking behaviour among the youths and adolescents to increase utilisation of basic health package, improve behaviour change and awareness to reduce risky behaviour among young people,” Kawaye said.
He said a lot of adolescents face challenges in accessing sexual reproductive health services due to several reasons some of them being misconception towards the services and lack of information.
Imcai has joined What Women Want, a global advocacy campaign which aims to improve quality maternal and reproductive healthcare for women and girls and strengthen health systems.
What Women Want sets out to query one million women and girls worldwide from capital cities to rural villages about their top priority for quality maternal and reproductive health services by the end of 2018.
“We believe partnering with international organisations is a huge step in intensifying our work. Imcai aims at increasing access to quality sexual and reproductive health services and rights to the local community to help reduce maternal and neonatal deaths,” Kawaye said.
Imcai’s focus is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 3 which focuses on ensuring health lives and promoting well being for all at all ages. The organisation is also guided by the Health Sector Strategic Plan 2 (HSSP 2) whose main focus is the concept of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Under the Essential Health Care Package, adolescent health has been identified as one of the priorities.