The Hunger Project has set aside K102 million which will be used to construct a public health facility at the Hunger Project premises around Nchalo in Chikwawa district.
The project is expected to bail out communities in the district and allow those around Nchalo area to access health services after they stayed for decades without a public health facility.
It will include construction of a maternity wing and staff houses.
Hunger Project Country Director Lawlands Kaotcha said soon after the ground-breaking ceremony on Friday that the construction works will turn the place into a full public health centre which will likely improve sexual and reproductive health services in the area.
During the function, Hunger Project, District Council and the District Health office signed memorandum of understanding on the roles each party will play.
Said Kaotcha: “We hope this will address challenges of pregnant mothers delivering at home or on their way to health facilities. It is within our mandate to make sure that we support government in eliminating poverty and hunger.”
The Country Director further said the project is expected to be completed by March, 2018.
He then called on communities to continue contributing bricks and sand for the project.
“On the part of the ministry, we are already assured of the health staff. The memorandum of understanding signed today will help to remind us to seriously fulfil our roles,” said the Country Director.
Taking his turn, South West Chief Quality Manager in the Ministry of Health Dr Malangizo Mbewe said the project is going to improve health services including sexual and reproductive services.
Dr Mbewe then reminded the organization to think of buying an ambulance so that once opened, the facility should be able to carry out referrals.
The Chief Quality Manager also took time to sensitize women to utilize the availability of family planning methods in various public and private hospitals so as to have small families.
“The construction of the maternity wing does not mean that you should have many children. Please go and access contraceptives at our hospitals,” added the Chief Quality Manager.
Chikwawa District Council Chairperson, Councilor Dyson Manjolo said he hoped the wing will significantly assist to reduce cases of maternal and neonatal deaths which he said are high in the district.
Manjolo then asked communities to own the project.
The intervention comes when most pregnant mothers in the area fail to pay at St Montfort Hospital and instead they travel about 27 kilometres to access free health services at the district hospital.
The construction works of the Nchalo maternity wing and the two staff houses project is being done with support from Human Kind Project from Australia.