14 August 2018

 

The Scottish Government has awarded St John Scotland almost half a million pounds to support healthcare projects for some of the most vulnerable people in Malawi.

 

The £460,000 grant is part of the Malawi Development Programme, which awards funds to projects which make improvements to health, education, civic governance or sustainable economic development.

 

The funding will allow St John Scotland to support the expansion of healthcare projects run by our sister organisation St John Malawi, which St John Scotland has supported for 30 years.

 

There is an urgent need for health services in Malawi: for every 1,000 children born, 42 will die before their first birthday, compared to only 3 in Scotland. One in every 5,800 women in Scotland runs a lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, child-birth or after delivery. In Malawi it is one of every 39 women.

 

Most deaths of mothers and infants in Malawi can be prevented by easy and cost effective solutions, so long as families get the right health care at the right time.

 

The Scottish Government funding means we will be able to help thousands of people improve their health. The project will reach 57,000 people at home, including more than 10,000 expectant and new parents. Local St John Malawi volunteers will make door-to-door visits to expectant and new parents, teaching pregnant women about nutrition and antenatal check-ups, and helping them prepare for delivery. The volunteers will also help households improve sanitation to prevent potentially life-threatening water-borne illness.

 

In remote villages, where health services are unavailable, St John and local health staff will run outreach clinics to bring services to some of the country’s most vulnerable people.

 

More than 25,000 people will also benefit from community health education, including young people before their first pregnancy. In a recent St John study, only a quarter of women knew about healthy practices during pregnancy, and just one in five knew appropriate newborn care.

 

It is hoped the programme – which has been funded until 2023 – will also contribute to the sustainable development of Malawi’s health sector in the long term.

 

Executive Director of St John Scotland, Angus Loudon, said:

“We are very grateful to the Scottish Government for awarding us this significant amount of funding to expand healthcare programmes in Malawi. The work of St John Malawi has already made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of families and young children in the country, and this funding will allow them to develop and extend their work, improving the health and wellbeing of thousands more.

As a Scottish charity running our own projects at home to save and enhance life, we are also proud to be part of the international St John family. We are particularly proud to support our colleagues at St John Malawi and the Scotland-Malawi partnership. 2018 marks 30 years of collaboration between ourselves and our Malawi colleagues, and we look forward to working closely together on this key project that will benefit so many.”

 

St John Scotland also supports other international projects, including the St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem. You can read more about St John Scotland’s support for St John International projects here: www.stjohnscotland.org.uk/projects/abroad/st-john-international