The Rose Project funds programmes which address maternal and child healthcare in Malawi. Mother to Child HIV transmission is the second most common form of HIV transmission in Malawi and accounts for 30,000 babies being born with the virus each year. If you place an HIV positive expectant mother on treatment during pregnancy, the risk of transmission to her child is almost eliminated. In addition the all important health of the mother is looked after, in turn improving her chance of caring for her child long-term and the rest of the family. There are two principal obstacles to providing healthcare to mothers and infants.
- Lack of healthcare workers to administer healthcare programmes: in clinics hospitals and the community
- Lack of good infrastructure: so many healthcare clinics and hospitals are wholly inadequate to house patients and provide medical and nursing services.
Read on to find out more
In 2006 The Rose Project funded a new HIV outpatient clinic in Lilongwe the capital of Malawi called Lighthouse. At this clinic, there is a strong focus on treatment to prevent mother to child HIV transmission in pregnancy. To date 11,000 patients have been placed on Aids treatment at Lighthouse, of whom 3,000 were pregnant women.
In 2008, The Rose Project and Lighthouse were keen to extend this treatment to provide for pregnant t women living in the rural areas. In May 2008,the rural prevention of mother to child HIV transmission programme began .Counsellors travel out from Lighthouse to the rural ante natal clinic on motorbikes. Over the four year period of the programme 4700 expectant women tested HIV positive and have been referred for treatment.
This programme is part funded by Irish Aid
In 2009, The Rose Project funded the new Bwaila Maternity Hospital which was opened by Dr Mary Robinson. This hospital replaced a shed like structure which was built in 1939 - as a temporary structure to manage 4,000 annual births! Prior to its closure, the hospital was managing 11,000 annual births-
The new Bwaila Maternity hospital (the busiest maternity hospital in Malawi) is responsible for 15,000 births each year . Whilst there is an acute shortage of skilled healthcare workers in Malawi, the situation has improved over the last five years. This is due to the increase in intake of medical and nursing students to the university -the results are already visible at Bwaila Maternity Hospital.
When the new hospital opened there was no resident obstetrician - however there are now two. This is making a substantial difference. Funded by Fredom from Fistula Foundation (Scotland)
Malawi has the highest incidence of maternal mortality for a non conflict country. Many women have just one antenatal visit which results in a high level of complications when patients present for delivery. In addition the incidence of HIV amongst the women attending the hospital is high leading to complications. There are only 5 obstetricians in the country for a population of 15 million people.
Mother to child HIV transmission during pregnancy is the second most common form of HIV transmission in Malawi and accounts for 30,000 babies being born HIV with the virus each year. With treatment this is preventable. Prevention of mother to child HIV transmission in pregnancy, is central to the care provided at Bwaila Maternity Hospital.
A number of international organisations have joined forces with The Rose Project in the past 4years in an effort to improve maternal and infant care at the hospital. These include Freedom from Fistula Foundation Scotland , the University of North Carolina, and Haukeland University Hospital Norway.
These organisations in partnership with the District Health Officer are presently implementing a number of training programmes for midwives and it is envisaged that a residency programme for medical graduates in the specialty of obstetrics will begin shortly at the hospital. This is good news!
The Rose Project continues to fund Rachel Macleod, senior midwife manager who works in the labour ward at the hospital.
In 2010 Freedom from Fistula Foundation (Scotland )opened a fistula unit at Bwaila Maternity Hospital. Obstetric fistula is a serious problem in the world's poorest countries, where most mothers give birth without any medical help. To date 400 women have had fistula repair transforming their lives.
The photographs of the Labour Ward below have been taken with the patients permission
29th January Midwife Vicky at the end of a night shift filling in the register. Vichy delivered 12 babies this night!
President Joyce Banda Dr Mary Robinson with Mary Donohoe Founder of The Rose Project pictured at the opening of the hospital in 2009
The Rose Project in partnership with the Norwegian & Malawian nurses's organisation funded a wellness centre for healthcare workers in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.. The principle is to provide medical care for healthcare workers in a confidential environment. HIV counselling, testing and treatment is also provided for the workers and their families.
Wellness Centres have proven to be remarkably successful in Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi and Zambia, in some cases halting the attrition of nurses from these countries. In addition the centres through their services have been successful in boosting morale generally for these front-line workers.
HIV has taken its toll on this profession in terms of members lost to the virus. In addition, the strain on the individuals working in such an overwhelmingly challenging environment is substantial.
This centre is being managed by the Malawian Association of Nurses with assistance from the Norwegian Nurses Association. Staff from the both the Lighthouse and Bwaila Maternity are supported at this centre.