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

The Cost of Inaction

Today in Malawi, I held a 5-month-old baby in my arms who was no heavier than 7 pounds due to severe malnourishment and a health care system that has overlooked this tiny human.  Many thoughts ran through my mind.  How could this baby boy, (who also had a twin sister as tiny and malnourished as him) make it this long without the necessary nutrients? Why was this health issue not addressed earlier? And the answer is clear:  the nutrition is not available and the health care is not accessible.

In a country where many only eat once a day, the lack of nutrition is a foundation for many other struggles.  How can a child in school truly focus on academics when he is worried about when his next meal will be?  How can a weak mother walk five or more miles to seek healthcare?  How can a sick mother provide for her three children?  The cycle that begins with lack of nutrition is a vicious one.

Inaccessible healthcare is also a major issue.  In some villages, like Chadza, a village with more than 250 people, the nearest clinic is 27 kilometers (18 miles) away.  And these people, who do not have access to nutritious food, certainly lack the transportation to make a trip to the doctor an “easy” one.  This inaccessibility is a major factor in the alarming maternal death rate (1 in 36) here in Malawi.

Action MUST be taken, and that is exactly what 100X Development is doing!  While the statistics are alarming, I am very encouraged at the potential we have to help the country of Malawi succeed.  There are many basic interventions that will help this developing nation and I am CERTAIN that with the right ideas and the accurate resources, 100X can truly improve the lives of all Malawian people.  By providing the appropriate nutrients to small children and babies, and the suitable nutritional supplements to expecting mothers, we are in turn ensuring a healthier lifestyle for both mom and baby.

With the proper resources, we will make healthcare much easier to access for all Malawian people. When people’s stomachs are full and their body is healthy, a nation of any size can prosper.  Our team at 100X is very excited about the possibilities in Malawi and we ask you to join us in the charge to make Malawi a better, healthier and happier nation!

Katie Sanderson, Program Director for Nursing Education

International Confederation of Midwives-Triennial Congress

Dana Blanchard, 100X Director of Operations for Malawi, attended the 29th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives in Durban South Africa on June 19-23.  She joined more than 3,000 midwives and leaders in maternal health from over 100 countries to advocate for the role of midwives in reducing maternal and newborn mortality.  The Congress provided an excellent platform for conference participants to share best practices and ideas for tackling this important issue.

The Congress also served as the official release of the State of the World’s Midwifery report issued by UNFPA.  The report delineates gaps in maternal healthcare and the shortage of midwives across the globe.  The country profile for Malawi reveals that:

  • There are 3,000 maternal deaths each year
  • The lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 36
  • There are 278 birth complications each day
  • There are 4 midwives for every 1,000 live births

With increased access to healthcare, these deaths are preventable. Dana and the 100X team are working with our partners at the Auburn University Schools of Nursing to establish a training program for midwives and community healthcare workers.  More about this program is available on our website.

100X Development presenting at the United Nations

The 100X Development Foundation will present at the InfoPoverty World Conference this week at the United Nations.  Co-Founder, Lindy Blanchard will discuss ways that 100X is helping to leverage maternal health and orphans and vulnerable children’s issues in Malawi with technology informed approaches.  100X Initiatives include an innovative maternal health approach that both educates and connects villages in Malawi with maternal health information and tools as well as ongoing efforts to strengthen and nourish children in Malawi that are orphans.  Nearly 1 million orphans have been left in this African nation by poverty and HIV/AIDS and more than 800 women per 100,000 will die in child birth.

100X Meets with First Lady Callista Mutharika of Malawi

On Wednesday, December 8, the 100X team met with Her Excellency the First Lady of Malawi to discuss our current projects in Malawi and to collaborate on a maternal health program.  Mrs. Mutharika is a strong advocate for maternal health programming in Malawi, and 100X is looking forward to working with her on this important project.

Right now, 1 in 18 women in Malawi will die during their lifetime due to complications and lack of medical care during pregnancy and delivery. For every 100,000 births that occur in Malawi this year, more than 800 mothers will die during delivery or shortly after because of complications.  These deaths are preventable.

100X is working with Mrs. Mutharika and others to develop a program that will provide training and nutrition to pregnant mothers, and then strengthen the capacity of midwives and community healthcare workers to respond to the needs of mothers in areas where obstetric care is systematically lacking.