#DuchessChangeMaker Muzalema Mwanza: The Zambian Activist Championing Safe Motherhood And Reducing Child Mortality

#DuchessChangeMaker Muzalema Mwanza: The Zambian Activist Championing Safe Motherhood And Reducing Child Mortality

Safe Motherhood – Improving maternal and child health in Zambia through the provision of safe, affordable, comprehensive delivery kits, training of birth attendants by skilled medical professionals and the provision of simple lifesaving solutions.

Home births, without help of knowledgeable trained health workers is common practise around the world. In Zambia, only 47 percent of births are attended by a skilled health worker at health institutions. Home delivery is high (53 percent).

In 2019, an estimated 2.4 million newborn deaths (under 28 days) occurred – WHO.

The alarming Maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in low-and-middle-income countries, more specifically with Nigeria and India accounting for 34% of global maternal deaths has called for intense swift intervention. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports the MMR of Nigeria is 814 (per 100,000 live births).

Although posing high risk of infection, via unhealthy and unsafe birthing practises by traditional birth attendants (TBA) such as severing umbilical cords with rusty blades infecting babies with tetanus, women giving birth on cold floors dirty, wiping themselves with dirty pieces of cloths, a leading cause of death among women and their infants, this delivery practise still thrives till today.

Over the past recent decades, the global maternal -child mortality ratio has witnessed significant improvement many thanks to the shift in the healthcare sector’s efforts via affordable medical-care, management of preterm, improved obstetric care, essential newborn care among other measures, but more still needs be done to change the narrative on mother deaths, newborn deaths as well as stillbirths.

Stepping in, beefing information, empowering expectant mothers and new moms in underserved communities in Zambia as well as providing affordable healthcare for pregnant women through the availability of resources in order to promote safe births is social entrepreneur, civil engineer, and health advocate is Muzalema Mwanza co-founder of Safe Motherhood Alliance.

Keying in from her own personal experience, with eyes set on nipping unsafe practises in the bud when it comes to mother and child health and wellness, through her non-profit organization, rebuilding trust, Safe Motherhood serves as a bridge between the communities and ill-equipped, safe reliable clinics, building trust and cementing safe births.

Safe Motherhood Alliance, a social enterprise, established improve the maternal, infant and neonatal mortality rates in Zambia and across various regions is aimed at low-resource settings and rural areas. This is done through simple, low cost, clean- Baby delivery kit. Particularly useful for midwives participating in home births and for midwives working in under-resourced clinics.

The basic delivery kit is an inexpensive, simple kit designed to help create a clean birthing environment, particularly for home births. The contents of the delivery kit include a clean razor blade, cord ties, a small bar of soap, a plastic delivery sheet, and pictorial instructions.

The organisation goes a step further to educate and train community health workers and traditional birth attendants to use the kits so they can either provide it as part of their birth delivery services or encourage families to purchase the kit for home deliveries.

Mwanza earned place on shortlist for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. She is a Mandela Washington Fellow, an Obama Leaders: Africa Fellow, an Africa Prize Finalist, and an Ashoka Fellow. She was a winner of the Mandela Washington Fellowship at the University of San Diego, California; a NEPAD Bioentrepreneurs winner in South Africa; a Slush Global Impact Accelerator winner in Finland; and a YHER Africa Accelerator winner, and has been featured on the BBC. Muzalema is a 2020 Echoing Green Fellow.

 

 

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