Gertrude Kaukonde, 32, is a mother of two children aged seven years and seven months. Living in a typical village of Chikwekwe, Traditional Authority Mlumbe, Zomba, Gertrude lacked knowledge on various health topics. She never went to the clinic to have Antenatal Care (ANC) services when she was pregnant with her first child. Even when she was pregnant, Gertrude did not know the signs and symptoms of pregnancy and mistook them for a headache.
“When I was pregnant with my first child, both my husband and I did not know about it. We only thought it was a headache that would go away in a few hours. Surprisingly, four days later, the symptoms were still there,” Gertrude narrated.
Gertrude said that she could not register for Antenatal Care (ANC) services on time as she was not aware of what ANC was all about. She did not know of the importance of going for ANC services, she admitted.
She was lucky with her second pregnancy as barely a few weeks into it, Sitima Radio Listening Club (RLC) conducted a home visit at her house. The club advised her on safety measures she needed to follow during her pregnancy. They also gave her the Wheel of Life Saving Practices to foster health service uptake.
Gertrude followed the practices on the Wheel of Life Saving Practices and she gave birth to a healthy baby. She now also sleeps under a mosquito net and eats food with six groups of food nutrients; all the things that she did not do with her first child. She also says that now, her husband goes with her to the clinic for monthly growth monitoring of their child.
Gertrude thanks Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) for introducing the project in her village through RLCs. She says with the project, she and her family’s life has changed for the better. She is now able to advise pregnant women on how to ensure that the health of the unborn baby is not compromised.