I used my day of being stood up to network around town and to make an appointment to meet the District Health Officer (DHO) this week with his Secretary, Efah a super cute 20-something wearing a ruffled top and black skinny jeans. We asked her about her holiday and she was all excited to tell us about her trip to the lake with her Fiancé (we even got invited to her wedding in June). (Side note: The only thing I’ve heard about a Malawian wedding is they are expensive! The tradition is while the Bride and Groom are dancing they will call up guests to throw money at the bride and groom and you have to keep throwing money until they call someone else. I better start collecting small bills now. Ha-ha.) So she gave me an appointment for today at 9:30am. I arrived this morning at exactly 9:30 expecting to wait a few hours but within 2 minutes I was called back to see the DHO (who is totally my age! Weird.). My technical job description is to assess the HIV/AIDS programs throughout the district but with my passion for maternal health and the knowledge that Malawi’s maternal mortality rate is extremely high (the highest outside of war ridden countries), 1 out of 36 Women will die during childbirth in Malawi. This needs to be made a priority and I want it to me my focus. So I pitched me idea piggy backing off of another volunteer project in a neighboring district. The project was to map all the Traditional Birth Attendants, Health Centers, and Hospitals while assessing the services provided. The neighboring district has used this information to receive funding for Bicycle Ambulances and to provide further training for the Traditional Birth Attendants. This would be a dream of mine! The DHO being a typical Malawian was very polite and said that he liked the idea (Malawian find it hard to say no). But with the fuel crisis it seems like a major challenge to be mobilized and out to the villages so the DHO sent me to speak with the Environment Health Officer whom is in charge of the community mobilizers. So supposedly I have a meeting with the CMs on January 17th at 8am. Keep your fingers crossed!!There are many obstacles and variables to manage but I’m so excited to be able to give my time and energy to maternal health while I am here!!
Much love to you and yours.a