Blantyre, Malawi, (Raphael Tenthani-Newstime Africa) – Malawi President Joyce Banda Wednesday met for an hour with Melinda Gates, wife of American philanthropist Bill Gates, in the
capital, Lilongwe, where the two women discussed maternal health and safe motherhood.
“As you are aware that in Malawi 675 women die every year while giving birth and that Malawi is the second country in Africa which has the highest maternal
mortality rate,” Banda told a press conference later.
Banda, 62, and herself a mother of five, said she has therefore made safe motherhood the central piece of her presidency.
“The coming of the Melinda Gates Foundation to Malawi will help us educate these chiefs as well as nurses on safe motherhood. Once the chiefs are educated,
they will also educate their subjects thereby reducing mortality rate in the country,” she said.
Soon after taking office to become Africa’s second female president in April after the sudden death of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika, Banda launched
what is called the Presidential Initiative on Safe motherhood and Maternal Health as one way of ensuring that no woman dies of maternal complications during
Gates, whose foundation already runs a number of safe motherhood projects in Malawi, announced that her foundation would send experts to Malawi in January
next year to help the Banda administration on issues of maternal health and self motherhood.
“I have visited one of the projects that we have in the country and I’m impressed with how things are being done,” she said.
Gates said her foundation would also construct guardian shelters for pregnant women in the impoverished southern African country.
This is Melinda Gates’ second visit to Malawi. She first visited Malawi in 2009
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