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Rosemary and her child at the new clinic
Essentials February 2023

Under-fives in Malawi face a much brighter future

New under-fives clinic helps to save children's lives

Together, we're keeping young children healthy and well nourished

In a district of southern Malawi, a brand new building shines in the early morning sun.

This attractive building gives the locals, especially mothers, joy and optimism. It is a new health centre that provides antenatal and postnatal care to mothers and their children.

The previous local clinic was no more than a grass-thatched shelter. During the rainy season, growth-monitoring sessions at the clinic had to be suspended and, as a result, women were forced to walk a long distance to access under-fives clinic services.

“We used to walk 6km to the nearest clinic with our children,” says mum-of-two, Rosemary. The long distance, carrying babies and often getting soaked by the rain, discouraged many mothers from attending.

The previous clinic “was not ideal for health care services” says Maliya, who has a baby. She adds that it “discouraged many mothers, including me, from going for their postnatal monthly visits.” This put their children’s health at risk.

A new health centre has changed everything

Thanks to training and support given by World Vision, the community now has a purpose-built facility on their doorstep. It provides easy access, and safety for mothers and children during the rainy season.

Women are attending the clinic in increasing numbers with their children. And male participation in postnatal care of children has also increased.

One-year-old Andrea has been visiting the new clinic with his dad, Moses, to receive nutritional supplements and deworming treatment.

Andrea and his dad, Moses, attending the under-fives clinic at the new health centre
Andrea and his dad, Moses, attending the under-fives clinic at the new health centre

Moses, who has two other children, is very thankful. “The new facility is contemporary and of a high standard, with bench seats for everyone.”

With the new facility, growth monitoring for under-fives in the area has increased to 95%, according to available statistics from the health care facility. The health centre serves about 20,000 people, from 58 villages, of which more than 2,400 are children under-five.

Continued improvement

The community plan to add electricity in the health centre for lighting, and so that essential medical supplies, such as vaccines, can be stored safely.

They also hope to create a maternity wing. “Our goal is to relieve the stress of great distance that pregnant women face when they are scheduled for delivery,” says Josofati, chairperson of the health centre management committee. Currently, the nearest maternity facility is about 30km away.

Thanks to you, children like Andrea now have access to vital health care and nutrition, giving them a much better start in life.

Together, we’ll continue to provide the most vulnerable children with the essentials they need for a happier, healthier and brighter future.

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