Earlier this month, 100X was invited by the National Council of Women of the US to share about our experience working to develop innovative programs to support women in rural settings—specifically in Malawi. Hosted at the United Nations, the panel entitled, “The Challenges of Rural Women: United States and Africa” also included Ambassador Brian Bowler, Malawi Ambassador to the UN, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), and other development experts. Included below is a sampling of what Terri Hasdorff, Vice President of 100X, shared.
In Malawi, the Chichewa word for pregnancy, Wapakati, also means 50-50. In a country with only 16 obstetricians serving a population of over 16 million, and with 46% of deliveries not attended by a skilled healthcare worker (nurse or midwife), complications that are easily treatable in a more developed country have devastating results. Consequently, one in 36 women in Malawi die from pregnancy related complications. One in 36 wives, mothers, and daughters dying from largely preventable causes.
To put this in perspective, 42% of all pregnancies across the globe—even in highly developed countries—experience a complication. In 15% of all pregnancies worldwide, these complications are life threatening. Yet, fewer than one in 14,840 women will die in pregnancy or childbirth in the top-ten ranked countries. Malawi on the other hand has the 11th highest infant mortality rate in the world.
Knowing this, it is easy to understand why the women of Malawi have adopted such a word to describe what should be considered a joyous and life-giving event.
At 100X, we believe that maternal death and infant mortality rates can be dramatically reduced with education and medical support. In every program that we develop, we look for ways to partner with the private sector, universities and technology providers so that there is no question that interventions are both efficient and effective.
We are proud to have strong university partnerships to assist us with our development goals. Auburn University, located in Alabama, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 100X, and has committed to partner with us to develop a nursing student exchange program in Malawi. We have also constructed a brand new, state of the art hospital, Blessings Hospital, just outside Lilongwe, Malawi that is centrally located and ready to serve the villages and rural areas nearby. This hospital will mean the difference between life and death for many women and children living in Malawi.
Through mobile clinics and village-based education programs, we will also have the ability to reach those who would not traditionally seek care in a hospital setting. The benefit of this model is the direct link between mobile clinics and Blessings Hospital.
In addition, 100X is working to develop onsite health pregnancy training that will create a place where pregnant women will learn to practice better hygiene, nutrition and avoid unsafe practices, along with screenings for high-risk pregnancy.
By embracing partnerships and working directly with local communities, we are working to change the definition of Wapakati, and transform pregnancy from a time of uncertainty and loss to one of great celebration.
Our goal is to change the lives of women and children in Malawi…won’t you help us?
—Terri Hasdorff, Vice President