Despite its challenges hospitals in Malawi and other developing countries don't have medicines or technology to help premature babies I was impressed by the Michinji hospital and its friendly staff, who make the best of what they have to improve women's health and decrease the maternal mortality rate.
Our second stop of the day was Mkanda Village, one of 232 UNFPA-supported villages. The trip was along a bumpy, dirt road and felt like a tiny roller coaster, and when the bus finally stopped I had to check to make sure I was still intact!
Having just left the hospital, I couldn't take my mind off the pregnant women who walk along this long road to see a doctor. On the way to the village I was appalled to learn that when a woman's husband dies, his family can kick her and her children onto the street because women in Malawi have no property rights. Realities like this are appalling and make you realize how many freedoms we take for granted in the US. There is progress, though. One ongoing UNFPA project promotes education and provides reproductive health outreach services. And villages are spreading the word about women's health, too. Locals write messages about reproductive health and protection against HIV/AIDS on their houses. It's a beautiful and creative way to support women!
For more information about Americans for UNFPA, go to americansforunfpa.org/getinvolved
Click below to read previous travel notes from Michaela:
A Trip of a Lifetime
Mice for Lunch