EDUCATED BY THE WHEEL OF LIFE-SAVING PRACTICES

Enelesi Njazi, 18, is one of the youngest mothers at Yamwala Village, Group Village Head Yamwali in Kasungu  district. Enelesi is just like any other female in the village who got married to receive the type of love and support any mother desires.

One thing which Enelesi did not receive as she was entering into her family with Yusufu Banda, 20, is knowledge on health-related topics on pregnant women and mothers who have children below the age of 5.

“I and my husband did not have adequate knowledge that any pregnant couple is supposed to follow during, before, and after delivery of a baby,” said Enelesi

Enelesi said that she and her husband used to never sleep under a mosquito net since they thought it causes panic when sleeping and they used to hear different myths about sleeping under a mosquito net.

“We used to think that we could die while sleeping under a mosquito net since our mind was covered with the idea that the mosquito nets cause panic. People from our society used to tell us that sleeping under a mosquito net also reduces energy levels  in a man during sexual intercourse and this made my husband, not like a mosquito net,” said Enelesi

She said that the myth from the society all change in their family when Yamwala RLC started paying them a visit under Moyo ndi Mpamba campaign.

Moyo ndi Mpamba is an initiative under Health Communication for Life (HC4L) project which is being implemented by Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) in Kasungu district with funding from USAID through FHI360. The main aim is to enhance the health of community members especially pregnant couples and families with a child or below the age of 5 years.

Enelesi said that she did not know that despite being pregnant, her family had a lot of topics to learn on health topics to protect their unborn baby from premature death and other health-related problems.

“Yamwala RLC taught us the importance of going for Antenatal Services and receive health advice. The RLC did this by sharing our couple the wheel of life-saving practices which has many health-related topics for pregnant couples,” said Enelesi.

The chairperson for Yamwala RLC, Pyela Banda said that they identified a couple of Banda since she was six months pregnant and the Wheel of Life Saving Practices would help the couple on health-related topics.

“We taught the couple on the importance of the pregnant couple on going for ANC services at a health facility since they teach a lot of health-related topics

The failure to exclusively breastfeed young infants and the introduction of liquids and solid foods at a too early age increases the risk of diarrheal disease, an important cause of mortality in Africa. In most of the sub-Saharan countries surveyed, relatively very few mothers of infants under four months follow the recommended practice of breastfeeding exclusively. In Malawi, 66 percent of mothers breastfeed their young infants exclusively. This puts Malawi in the upper range of the sub-Saharan countries surveyed.

Bottle-feeding is provided to 2 percent of infants under four months in Malawi. This rate is one of the lowest of the Sub-Saharan countries surveyed. Bottle-feeding is not recommended because improper sanitation and formula preparation with bottle-feeding can introduce pathogens to infants, putting them at a greater risk of illness and malnutrition.

UNICEF and WHO recommend that solid foods be introduced to infants around the age of six months because breast milk alone is no longer sufficient to maintain a child’s optimal growth. Thus, all infants over six months of age should receive solid foods along with breast milk.

In Malawi, seventy-nine percent of infants-age 6-9 months are fed solid foods in addition to breast milk. This means that more than two-thirds of all infants-age 6-9 months are fed according to the recommended practice. Twenty percent of infants-age 6-9 months are not fed solid foods in addition to breast milk, putting these children at risk of malnutrition. One percent of infants are fully weaned and are thus not receiving the additional nutritional and emotional support of breastfeeding.

So, when Enelesi was pregnant, she received health advice on the importance of excessive breastfeeding the baby for 6 months when the baby is born and this prevented the baby from suffering from different malnutritional diseases and the baby grew healthy.

“ I was even told to never stop breastfed my baby even if he is sick from any type of disease,” said Enelesi.

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