By Moses Masiye

Malawi was part of the United nations blueprint of year 2000, setting a target to meet some development goals by the year 2015. The eight millennium development goals- MDGs, had goals 4 and 5 which were regarded important areas for Malawi as a country.

They were targeting at reducing child mortality and improve maternal health among others. This was set as a basic development factor for Malawi, knowing that only health people can contribute towards any development activity.

Great progress was made, for example managing to achieve a decline of underfive mortality from 244 to 71 deaths per 1000 live births to wards the year 2015. Martenal mortality also declined from 1100 to 510 per 100 thousand live births between 1990 and 2014.

This was due to health policies Malawi government put in place after the United Nations summit in September 2000, where the millenium development goals-MDGs were signed. Despite all these efforts, Malawi remains one of the countries with highest martenal mortality rates in Africa.

Exit the MDGs in 2015, the members of the United Nations came up with sustainable development goals- SDGs, after countries like Malawi among others, failed to meet almost half of the previous goals.

To complement government efforts, governments of Germany and Norway came in with funds to assist Malawi’s ministry of health achieve goal number 3 of the SDGs. SDG goal number 3 aims at ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages, which is essential to sustainable development.

This still remains Malawi’s centre goal to achieve the rest.

The Results based financing (RBF) for maternal and neonatal health program was rolled out, in which among others, the pregnant women are encouraged through to attend antenatal clinics as well as deliver at health facilities. On the other hand, health facilities are provided with modern health equipment while the health workers are rewarded for outstanding performance.This is proving to change the face of things.

Funny Kachali, director of reproductive health in Malawi ministry of health says though there has been a slow decline in maternal mortality, there is still more to be done if the country is to meet sustainable development goals come 2030.

“About 8-10 women still die in a day, a figure which is still among the highest in Africa. ” Many newborns also die within first 48 hours of life, a factor contributing negatively to slow pace of development, ” said Kachali.

RBF deputy diDedza,r for Malawi, Reagan Kaluluma says over the past three years since the pilot phase of the program rolled out, there is notable improvement, though not yet across the country.

Kaluluma said:- “We rolled out in four districts of Mchinji, Dedza, Ntcheu and Balaka, but there is already a notable improvement in health facility deliveries, resulting into reduced maternal and neonatal deaths.”

He said if this initiative is scaled out to all other districts countrywide, there is hope that Malawi would achieve a health life for many if not all, thereby contributing greatly towards achieving the sustainable development goals.

Principal secretary in Malawi ministry of health Dr. Dan Namalika, said the ministry is impressed with how RBF program is complementing its efforts to end preventable maternal and neo natal mortality.

“We are adopting the initiative, and will surely roll it to all other districts so that we are at the end inline with the United nations sustainable development goals,” said Dr. Namalika.