Capital Radio Malawi
17 July, 2024

Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) Board Chairperson, Carolyn Kassam, says active participation of communities in healthcare delivery is key to ensuring that all children get vaccinated against various ailments.

Kassam said this Saturday during a training for members of Chipozinkhono Mother Care Group in Traditional Authority (TA) Santhe in Kasungu. 

She said community participation through structures like mother groups can help reduce default rate for child immunisation as the care groups assist in mobilising communities to vaccinate their children.

“The role of mother groups is to raise awareness about the importance of immunisation for children and in the process, creating demand for vaccination.

“It is pleasing to note that here in Kasungu, statistics show that since we started this initiative, immunization rate has significantly improved including in hard to reach places,” she said. 

Kassam said the training was meant to update the mother group on new developments in immunisation including the introduction of new vaccines such as that of malaria.

“We don’t want even a single child to miss vaccines especially in the critical years. So, the training is meant to remind the mother care group about its role in this important task,” she said.

Apart from creating demand for immunisation, mother groups also lobby for necessary health services not available in their communities including support infrastructure such as under-five clinics and houses for health workers.

Chairperson for the group, Aness Kanamwali, said the group has helped to ensure male involvement in child immunisation which was previously seen as a woman’s responsibility.

She said: “It’s no longer strange here to see men taking their children to under-five clinics for vaccination because we have managed to raise awareness about this.

“In our assessment, there are reduced cases of morbidity amongst children in this community now because many people take their children for vaccination.”

MHEN organised the training in partnership with Good Health Organisation under its Health Strengthening Immunisation System initiative with financial support from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.

The training, which will also be conducted for all the 32 mother care groups in the district, zeroed on new developments in immunisation and vaccines, rights and responsibilities of communities and advocacy.

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