Sometimes doing the right thing is more important than profits, a lesson Verinance Ntchentche of Mkangala Women Group in Ntchisi, Malawi learned first-hand. After joining the Maikhanda formed Women Groups in the district it dawned on the 56 year old that provision of maternity care by unskilled people is one of the contributing factors to maternal and newborn deaths as they mostly fail to spot complications or cope with problems that arise during pregnancy and childbirth.
Today, Ntchentche is no longer that person who could risk the lives of pregnant women and babies just to earn a little something. In her words, Women still approach her seeking maternity care but she counsels and refers them to the hospital. She says the strategies being implemented by Women Groups have helped her even beyond as she is also equipped with other measures of making a living other than relying on the little money she could earn by delivering women. She is now able to bake scones which she sells and also owns a vegetable garden courtesy of a loan she got from Village Savings and Loan (VSL) through the Women Groups.
One of the gardens made by the WGs as an income generating strategy
Maikhanda has been implementing a Comic Relief project aimed at improving maternal and newborn outcomes in Ntchisi district and it benefitted a population of about 276,613 people both at facility and community level.
Maikhanda also works with the Ministry of Health particularly through Health Surveillance Assistants and health facilities staff in efforts to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths in the district.