At the northern tip of the country, and off the shores of lake Malawi, lies Karonga district. One of Malawi’s largest border posts, Songwe border, lies in this district. Every year, thousands of travelers, traders, refugees and migrants trickle into the country through this border. Making it an area prone to health epidemics. In 2018, when Ebola broke out in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, the Karonga District Health Office (DHO) was put on alert
There was a time when 51-year-old tomato farmer, Philemon Kanema Banda, used to care about the perceptions of his community on the role of men in raising children. The unwritten rules and norms on what was expected of men and women used to bother Philemon a lot.
When she got the message through her pastor at church one Saturday morning, Elida Ntanga, 37, of Kunenekude village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kanduku, planned not to miss the Child Health Days campaign which Mwanza District was planning to conduct. This was to ensure that her 2-year-old baby, Brian, benefits from the services to be offered at Kunenekude Health Centre.
Agness Nyirongo is a 62-year-old grandmother. She shares her two-roomed grass thatched house in Mlongoti village, Rumphi District in northern Malawi with two of her children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Located just a few kilometres from the main town, Mlongoti is a poor village full of small houses. Just like Agness’ family, most of the families in this village earn a living from subsistence farming.
Bvumbwe Health Centre is located along the M2 Road in Thyolo district, some 23 kilometres from Blantyre. The first thing one notices once inside the health facility is people sitting or sleeping on the lawn close to the health centre’s main gate. Then one is hit by the sounds of a hospital—crying babies afraid of needles.
Every 1-7 August, the world commemorates World Breastfeeding Week. The theme for this year’s week is “empower parents, enable breastfeeding”. Breastfeeding is a vital part of providing every child with the healthiest start to life.
The empty airfield, while devoid of planes, feels full of life and excitement. The breeze keeps a tattered orange wind sock moving. And in the distance, the sounds of young people playing at a nearby school fills the air, reminding everyone why we're here.
Patson Kadyankoni, 34, dreamed of becoming a reverend when he was a child. As he finished his secondary school, he pivoted towards nursing instead. Now, seated in the consultation room at Mtakataka Health Centre, he is a trusted nurse midwife. Dressed in a neat white nursing suit, he attends to pregnant and new mothers every day, helping keep them healthy and save lives.
It had been raining nonstop for three days and water was rising slowly. First it filled out the yard, then covered the verandah area before seeping into the mud and stick house belonging to Ethel Mwaonga. “I woke up to the sound of people screaming and scrambling to get into boats,” Ethel recalls. “I took my baby and a few clothes and ran into a boat.”
It is mid-morning at Mdeka health center. The hospital yard is full of people. They are women with babies on their backs men helping patients off bicycle taxis and others busking in the morning sun waiting for their turn to be seen by the clinicians.