Midwife Lifetime Achiever Charity Salima: Over 12,000 Births, Zero Deaths
Malawian midwife Charity Salima has successfully delivered 12,000 babies without fatalities, founded Achikondi Women's Clinic, and promotes awareness.
In Malawi, Charity Salima is a midwife who has become a beacon of hope for thousands of women. Since 2008, she has helped deliver approximately 12,000 babies without a single fatality. Salima, who retired from Malawi's public health service in 2006, founded the Achikondi Women's Clinic in 2008, which provides maternity services in a low-income area of Lilongwe, Malawi's capital. The clinic's name, Achikondi, means "love" in the local language.
In addition to her role as a midwife, Salima raises awareness about the dangers of teenage pregnancy and the importance of maternal healthcare. The clinic operates on a voluntary donation basis, ensuring that all patients receive the care they need, regardless of their ability to pay. Salima has received financial support from international institutions, including Scotland's Freedom from Fistula Foundation, and works closely with Malawi's largest referral hospitals, Kamuzu Central and Mutharika Maternity Wings.
Despite Salima's success, childbirth mortality rates in Malawi remain concerning. As of 2020, UNICEF reported that an average of 38.6 babies under the age of five die per 1,000 births. According to Dr. Stanely Samusodza, a public health expert and nurse, the high mortality rate is due to a combination of factors, such as underfunded public hospitals, a shortage of midwifery specialists, and delayed or missed diagnoses of birth-related conditions like HIV and Fistula. Additionally, private clinics with better facilities and staff charge fees that many mothers cannot afford.
Salima emphasizes that aspiring nurses should look beyond their diplomas and develop a holistic approach to their profession. As a midwife, she believes in having a keen sense of observation and quick decision-making skills to ensure the safety of both mother and child. She also actively works to educate communities about the importance of delivering babies in maternity clinics instead of homes with untrained traditional birth attendants.
In her efforts to reduce teenage pregnancies and address other health concerns, Salima speaks to young girls about the importance of continuing their education and informs women about the treatability of cervical cancer. Her dedication and remarkable achievements have earned her numerous accolades. The Achikondi Women's Clinic was recognized as the best in Malawi's Central Region Province, and in 2019, Queen Elizabeth of England awarded Salima the "Point of Light Award" through the UK High Commission in Malawi. In 2020, President Lazarus Chakwera named Salima as the country's "Midwife Lifetime Achiever."
Salima is committed to ensuring the continued success of the Achikondi Women's Clinic even after her departure. To achieve this, she mentors young nurses who will carry on her legacy and continue providing crucial maternal healthcare services to Malawi's women.
As reported by Audrey Simango in Africa Renewal magazine, Salima's extraordinary accomplishments in the field of midwifery have significantly impacted the lives of countless Malawian women and their families. Her dedication to maternal health has made her a respected figure in her community, and her work serves as an inspiration to others in the field.
The positive effects of Salima's efforts extend beyond the women and children she directly serves. By raising awareness about the dangers of teenage pregnancy and the importance of professional maternal healthcare, she is helping to create a more informed society that prioritizes the well-being of its mothers and children. This, in turn, can contribute to a decrease in maternal and infant mortality rates, as well as an improvement in the overall health of the community.
Moreover, Salima's work highlights the critical role that midwives can play in addressing healthcare disparities and providing accessible, quality care to underserved populations. Her efforts demonstrate the potential impact of empowering midwives and other healthcare professionals with the resources and support needed to serve their communities effectively.
Charity Salima's tireless work in the field of midwifery has made a significant difference in the lives of thousands of Malawian women and their families. As a hero midwife, she has not only provided essential maternal healthcare services but has also been instrumental in promoting awareness about vital health issues. By continuing to mentor the next generation of healthcare professionals, Salima is ensuring that her legacy of love and care will endure, improving the lives of countless women and children for years to come.
Source: Simango, Audrey. "12,000 births, zero deaths: Malawians celebrate hero midwife Charity Salima." Africa Renewal, July 2022.