Bwaila Hospital, Lilongwe, Malawi +265 888 244 600 / +265 990 439 288

Baby Care Programme

Despite improvements over the past decade, the infant mortality rate remains high in Malawi (32.5 deaths per 1000 births) and there are certain groups of infants whose risk of dying within their first year of life far exceeds that of their peers (potentially reaching 80%).  These high-risk infants include orphans (i.e. infants whose mothers die within their first six months of life), multiples (twins and triplets) and infants without access to breast milk (e.g. infants with mothers who are critically ill).  The majority of these infants are healthy at birth but due to an environment of severe poverty, deteriorate and often die within days to months.  

Joyful Motherhood nurses receive referrals from Kamuzu Central Hospital, Bwaila Hospital, and health centers within Lilongwe District.  Additionally, on an almost daily basis, families with orphaned newborns in their arms arrive at our office desperately seeking support.  Families of these newborns are willing to provide the daily love and care but cannot afford ongoing cost of feeding the baby. 

Babies enrolled in our program receive monthly home-visits for a minimum of one year.  After their first birthday babies will receive visits every two months up to age two.  During every visit, Joyful Motherhood nurses monitor the child’s health status, address the mother’s or guardian’s concerns, assess the household environment, deliver nutritional supplements and provide relevant health education to family and community members. We strongly believe that breast milk is the ideal food for babies under six months, but when breast milk is not available, formula is the necessary lifesaving alternative. Formula must always be used with care and supervision, so when formula is needed Joyful Motherhood nurses teach and monitor guardians’ ability to reconstitute and administer it.  When necessary, nurses help mobilize community members to support the individual caring for the vulnerable infant.  And in the case of premature infants, nurses teach Kangaroo care. If the enrolled baby needs to be referred to a hospital, Joyful Motherhood nurses serve as an extra point of contact and an advocate during the period of hospitalization.

Of the babies enrolled in our program, over 98% survive early childhood. Because infant deaths (i.e. under one year of age) constitute such a large portion of child deaths in Malawi (roughly 2/3), by reducing the deaths among the highest risk groups, we believe we can positively impact overall child survival rates.