Lack of support for expectant mothers 'fuelling child mortality in Malawi'
More babies would survive in Malawi if their mothers had better access to antenatal and neonatal healthcare, an expert from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said.
New figures from the country's Ministry of Health have shown that even though efforts have been taking place to reduce infant mortality over the past five years, 30 out of every 1,000 newborns still die before they are 28 days old, the Nyasa Times reports.
UNFPA's Dorothy Nyasulu attributed the persistent high mortality rate to a lack of medical support for pregnant women during their first trimester, as well as after their babies are born.
She pointed out that few women in Malawi are returning to hospital after they give birth so their babies are vulnerable to infections, plus their mothers may not be aware of how to breastfeed because they are never shown.
"The critical period to lose both mothers and the neonates is before the 28 days, so if they could access postnatal care that would reduce the neonatal deaths," said Ms Nyasulu.
According to the World Health Organization, Malawi spends only 6.6 per cent of its GDP on healthcare.