By Sylvester Kumwenda:
Communities around Madzo in Dowa have expressed excitement over the construction of a new maternity wing, which they say would save lives and ease long distance travel for pregnant mothers in the area.
The Project, Mazdo maternity wing was being constructed under the Governance to Enable Service Delivery Project and is expected to serve around 10,000 families.
In an interview Wednesday during a recent tour of the facility organized by the National Local Government Finance Committee, Councillor for Chakhaza South West, Billy Mtika said, for a long time pregnant women have faced challenges due to unavailability of health facility in the vicinity.
The closest government hospitals we have are at Dzoole, Chizolowondo, Chakhaza and Madise which are all very far. This is a problem especially to pregnant women.
We have witnessed some women giving birth on the road while on their way to these hospitals. As it is, our women are not safe, he said.
Mtika said the coming in of the project was expected to change the fortunes for the women around the communities.
We expect this facility to protect and save the lives of our pregnant women and those of the newborns because medical care will now be within their doorstep.
It is expected to serve around 10,000 families within the area, and this is a significant number. We are very thankful, he added.
The project is estimated to cost around K106 million which will see it become a fully functional maternity wing with facilities like a placenta pit, nurses offices, labour room, electricity, running water and staff house.
One of the women from the area, Victoria Kamwetsa said the unavailability of a health facility meant risky long travels for pregnant women to access medical attention.
It is not an ideal situation. It is unsafe for a due woman to travel long distances especially, made worse during the rainy season when the road condition is at its worsfe.
Apart from also being costly, there are other dangers we face on the road including attacks. But this will all change when the maternity wig is up and running, she said.
Village Headman, Simoko Pute said the maternity wing would serve around 300 villages.
He expressed commitment that together with other traditional leaders, they would make sure the facility was well taken care of.
Managing Director for Sheri Construction which is constructing the facility, Gerald Machezo said despite other challenges, work on the project was progressing well and completion is expected to happen in or around September, which was within the time framework.