Margret Mangala, 21, is from group Village Head Sazola, Traditional Authority Mabuka in Mulanje district. Magret was only 2-month-old pregnant when Sazola Radio Listening Club (RLC) identified her at her home.
Like any other girl in a rural area with less knowledge on health issues, Margret did not have enough information on the measures or regulations to be following to maintain her health and for the unborn baby to grow healthy. This includes going for Antenatal Care (ANC) care services at the hospital or clinic, sleeping in a mosquito net, having a toilet at her house, and other health issues.
Being her first pregnancy, Magret came across various misconceptions on how bad it is to take care of herself and the unborn baby.
After realizing that she was pregnant during the first month of her pregnancy, Margret did not take her time to go to the clinic and receive enough health advice as she was waiting to go to the hospital during the 9th month of her pregnancy when delivering the baby.
“I was just seating idle at home without any knowledge of taking care of pregnancy. My and my husband did not know anything about health-related issues as they were just waiting for the baby to be born after 9 months,” said Margret.
The Chairperson for Sazola RLC, Lucy Mpinde, said that after identifying Margret to be one of the beneficiaries under Moyo ndi Mpamba program, the club introduced the Wheel of Life Saving Practices to her and mentored her on how best she could be using it to ensure that there is the good health of the unborn baby in her womb and the mother as well.
“We gave her the Wheel Life Saving Practices which she pastes on the wall of her house. We taught her ongoing for ANC service at the clinic on her third month of pregnancy,” said Lucy.
Lucy said that they encouraged Margret to be going for ANC service with her husband to be receiving enough health advice
“I now go to the health center for ANC service every 3 months with my husband and he always stays on the forefront in reminding me when the day approaches,” said Margret.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that has killed millions of people globally, including Malawi as a country. According to Malawi Journal 2020, malaria is a leading cause of mobility and mortality among children under 5 years in Malawi and especially among those from rural areas of Malawi. In Malawi, malaria is one of the three most significant public health issues and it accounts for 2% of Malaria cases worldwide and is among the top 15 countries with a high burden. As such, children below the age of 5 years and pregnant women are at high risk for malaria as compared to the other groups. As such, Sazola RLC saw it as one of the important things to also tackle on the Wheel of Life Saving Practices.
Lucy said that the couple was not sleeping in a mosquito net as it communicated that they were frequently getting sick of malaria. When Sazola RLC visited them, they informed them on the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net as it prevents people from being attacked by malaria.
“We used to see mosquito nets as a useless thing bit after receiving some helpful advice by Sazola RLC on the Wheel of Life Saving Practices, we now sleep in a mosquito net to prevent ourselves and our child from malaria,” said Margret.
Margret also said that during the time of her pregnancy, she did not know how to be eating food that is rich in the six groups of food nutrients to ensure the good health of the child until Sazola RLC reached out to her.
“I was introduced to six groups of food nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fats, minerals, and water,” said Margret.
Despite having a low-income level, Margret said that she managed to eat food that is rich in six groups of food nutrients.
After the birth of the baby, Sazola RLC did not quite their monitoring visit to Margret’s house to continue advising her on the health advice from the Wheel of Life Saving Practices. The other reason was to see if she is still following the health advice the club has been giving her so that the baby together with herself should grow healthier and prevent themselves from suffering from different diseases.
Apart from this, Margret said she used to share the same toilet with her neighbors as she together with her husband saw it very difficult to build their toilet. After receiving some advice from Sazola RLC, Margret together with her husband managed to construct a toilet to ensure that they have their toilet.
“This has prevented my family from the risk of different diseases like cholera,” said Margret.
Margret said that she has also learned a lot of things on the issue of hygiene as she used to ignore some of them together with her husband.
“I now wash hands soon after going to the toilet, before cooking, and even before and after doing any household chores,” said Margret.
Margret’s child is now 1 year and 2 months old and growing healthily. As for Margret, she is now a happy mother together with her husband while appreciating Moyo ndi Mpamba campaign under Health Communication for Life (HC4L) being implemented by the Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM), funded by USAID and primed by FHI360.
Margret said that she is a role model to many young mothers around her community as many people did not expect that there could a high level of literacy in Margret since she is a young mother.
“Most of my neighbors tend to ask me how I managed to raise my pregnancy and even reach a level of giving birth without any complications and even getting sick for the fact of being a young mother,” said Margret.