Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mangamba HC in clinical MC breakthrough

By Lino Limbithu and Elias Banda
Mangamba Health Centre in Machinga has achieved a clinical male circumcision breakthrough after registering 182 referred cases, defying the traditionally operated circumcision by herbalists known as angaliba in local language.  In 2012, the centre registered 134 cases and according to Aubrey Kambalame, Clinical Officer at the health centre, the rise in the figures was attributed to the intensified campaign on clinical circumcision campaign conducted in the area. Mr kambalame hinted in an interview that last year three boys were referred to the clinic while unconscious due to excessive bleeding after a botched circumcision operation at one of the traditional initiation ceremony camps. Kambalame said the situation triggered a spate of fear in the community as it was reported that apart from their lack of knowledge on clinical procedure, the ngalibas used old and blunt knives when cutting foreskins and the boys were not given any pain killers after the operation and they were left to endure the pain without proper care.
ADRA Malawi through the Action for Social change Program collaborated with chiefs and health workers in the area and launched a campaign against traditional circumcision. ADRA Malawi also facilitated a series of community dialogue sessions involving all sections of the society to find a lasting solution on the matter and community members resolved to take their children to the clinic for a safer and clinically administered circumcision.
The Ngaliba and the boys captured at the Ndagala last year.
In September 2012, it was reported that over 60 boys were detained in the initiation ceremony camps known as Ndagala for a month after schools were opened for them to complete the initiation ceremony which included circumcision, putting education in the area at stake.
A radio program facilitated by ADRA Malawi  called Nzatonse was recorded at Mgundiwa where community members condemned the practice and called on chiefs to take drastic measures on the matter.  When the program was aired on the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) last year in September, it attracted a wider condemnation as callers participating in the program wondered why people in Machinga highly valued culture than education.
Nevertheless, a spot check in the primary schools around Mangamba Health Centre conducted by ADRA Malawi in September this year revealed that all boys within the initiation age were in school, signifying a tremendous change in the community perception towards value for education.
The Action for Social Change Program is being supported by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Machinga, Mulanje, Lilongwe and Mzimba.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

ADRA ASC Program meets stakeholders

By Elias Banda
ADRA Malawi through the Action For Social Change Program (ASC ) held a meeting with government stakeholders in Zomba to strengthen collaboration.
The meeting was held at Annes Lodge from 13th to 14th  November and brought together government officers, especially those aligned with program activities from Machinga and Mulanje. Participants included district directors of planning.
Emma Jakobo addressing stakeholders
Speaking during the official opening of the meeting Emma Jakobo, ASC Program Manager said ADRA Malawi was complementing government efforts and it was imperative that stakeholders were updated  at all levels of implementation and that their input would be crucial to help improve the delivery of services.  
The meeting created a platform where ADRA Malawi shared reports on achievements and success stories. ADRA Malawi Also shared the ASC mid-term review report and a research draft findings on Fertilizer Subsidy Program (FSP), conducted by Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), supported by the ASC Program.   The meeting also looked at common challenges hampering implementation of activities such as low involvement of men in the activities and how to sustain volunteers in the activities.
It was reported that low male patronage in development activities was a general problem and was attributed to the fact that men would participate in activities which had quick results.  To draw the attention of men in the projects it was resolved that future project designs whether undertaken by government or non- governmental organizations, should consider reaching men where they are mostly found. The meeting also resolved that a common approach through district civil society organizations should be reached on how to handle volunteer incentives in order to avoid a situation where some organizations would give more incentives than others, thereby negatively impacting on the sustainability of activities.
Participants during the meeting
The meeting also agreed on joint monitoring of activities between the district councils and ADRA Malawi. It was resolved that councils would be free to contact ADRA Malawi or any other partner for monitoring of activities.
The meeting also discussed best practices on exist strategies that included community empowerment and linkages with relevant government departments.
In 2012,  a similar meetings took place in Blantyre and Lilongwe where ASC  program strategies were reviewed.
A similar meeting would take place in Salima involving stakeholders from Mzimba and Lilongwe.