Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in the world despite having implemented major economic and structural reforms to support its economic growth. Among the various problems afflicting the country, there is still a high infant mortality rate due to infectious diseases (including malaria, gastrointestinal diseases and pneumonia). There are also domestic accidents due to the lack of adequate shelter for infants and frequent attacks by animals.
To address this problem, FMSI has decided to contribute by donating cots made by KOKONO to Mtendere Community Hospital. KOKONO is a Project conceived by De-LAB – a social design centre specialised in design, consultancy, research and training in the field of Purpose Economy – to respond to a growing need for maternal and child health and safety in Sub-Saharan Africa. Such cots provide shelter for newborns so that they can be protected both inside and outside the home. They also enable their mothers to be more autonomous and independent, having a safe place to leave their baby.
Mtendere Community Hospital is located in the western part of the Dedza district in the central region of Malawi; it is run by the Teresian Sisters and a local congregation. It has several sections, including the maternity ward, the post-natal ward, the pre-natal ward, the paediatric ward, and the outpatient department.
Due to the lack of cots or a suitable place for the safety of newborns, mothers and their children were forced to share a bed that was too small for two people, in which it was also difficult for doctors to carry out accurate post-natal checks.
Thanks to the donation of the cradles, the hospital was able to improve conditions for children who need special care or who have to be temporarily separated from their mothers, providing them with a protected and safe place for medication, meals and care.
Last but not least, the cradles will give mothers the opportunity to rest properly. There are many challenges and difficulties that new mothers face, and the cradle certainly provides considerable support.
It should also be pointed out that a baby used to spending time in the cradle away from his or her mother from the early days will have a better chance of getting used to a new environment, different from the parents’ arms, thus allowing women to continue with their work; a factor that promotes female empowerment.
KOKONO and FMSI will continue to work together to reach more and more children, especially the most vulnerable among them, in places where there is the greatest need.