“We Don’t Want Our Mothers and Babies to Die” “We want an Ambulance at Chikangawa Health Centre”.
So read the banners of over 60 activists outside Chikangawa Health Centre on Tuesday, 13th December 2016. Less than a month before a young mother had died from excessive bleeding during childbirth simply because the ambulance arrived too late to take her to a nearby referral hospital.
“The health centre lacks transport to ferry mothers who have been referred to the district hospital. In most cases, we are told that there is no ambulance or it comes late”, said Super Activist Eliza Kaliyande who helped organise the event.
After marching from the health centre to the nearby Teacher Development Centre, the activists presented a petition to their councillor, Daniel Nyirenda, demanding quick responses to the needs of the local health centre. Key among their demands was the need for an ambulance to be placed at Chikangawa Health Centre and for the facility to be provided with a constant source of clean water, for sanitation purposes.
Super Activist Eliza Kaliyande handing over the petition to the councillor Daniel Nyirenda
In response to the petition, Councillor Daniel Nyirenda thanked the activists and the community for their initiative and promised to communicate the content of their petition to the district council. “The petition is very important to the area and I will take it to the district council and it is my hope that the ambulance will be found soon,” said Councillor Nyirenda.
During the event, which was also covered by national media outlets including Zodiak News, the Councillor also thanked MamaYe for empowering the community to hold duty bearers accountable.
The activists expressed hope that the event would secure an ambulance for Chikangawa. In the meantime, and with the support of MamaYe, they continue to work to advocate for change in their locality – organising drams to store water and fund-raising walks to raise proceeds for the construction of outbuildings for the health centre.
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