The grant will be used to strengthen the Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Initiative (SMI) in Malawi by supporting the design of model maternity homes in which women who are about to deliver or have just delivered their babies receive health services and education. The grant also will support the training of pre- and neonatal healthcare providers, from nurse midwives to consulting obstetrician-gynecologists. UNC, which has seven faculty members living full-time in Malawi and Zambia, is in the process of helping Malawi establish its first residency program in obstetrics and gynecology.
Launched in 2010, SMI aims to address high maternal and child mortality rates in Malawi — rates that have seen only modest declines since 2005 — by expanding access to emergency obstetric and neonatal care, family planning resources, and skilled birth attendants. To that end, an SMI Secretariat was launched shortly after Joyce Banda took office as president of the country in 2012.
"UNC is deeply committed to women's health around the world," said Jeff Stringer, director of UNC Global Women's Health in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, "and we will [do] everything we can to assist President Banda's initiative to make pregnancy and delivery safer for all women."