The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) is one of the success stories of Malawi. It has contributed to the reduction of preventable and immunisable childhood diseases. This was further, translated into reduction of both infant and child morbidity and mortality. The Malawi DHS report 2010 shows that 81% of children aged 12-23 months were fully immunized. This excellent work has been recognized by both GAVI and WHO. Maternal mortality rates decreased from 984 per 100,000 live births in 2004 to 675 per 100,000 live births in 2010, with an increasing number of women delivering at health centres from 57.2% in 2004 to 73% in 2010. Work to continue to improve these figures is ongoing.
The Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) is estimated at 33 deaths per 1000 live births (slightly higher in rural areas with 34 deaths per 1000, against 30 in urban areas). About half (48%) of mothers did not receive any postnatal care ; attributed to lack of emphasis on community and family care; lack of adequate treatment for neonatal infections and lack of information on danger signs coupled with poor hygiene practices.
Current health promotion emphasis:
- Safe pregnancy: going four times for ANC, promotion of modern methods of family planning and having a birth plan
- Skilled delivery at health facility of live and healthy baby by increasing access to Emergency Obstetric care for pregnant women
- Recognizing danger signs of pregnancy, delivery and after delivery, e.g. protection against tetanus and sepsis
- Access to kangaroo baby care
- Children to receive full immunization by age of one, attend under five clinic and taken to the health facility for any danger sign.