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Following my studies as development instructor in the Carribean, I travelled to Malawi in 2003 for the first time. Here I recognized and found my passion for the midwife profession. I decided to become a midwife after having seen a home birth in Kunthembwe which ended with the death of a mother and her child. I started my midwifery training at the Charité Clinic in Berlin (Germany) after having studied African and Cultural Sciences.

During my training I was able to work abroad twice. I spent ten weeks in Malawi and worked in a private and in a state hospital. I learned a lot and benefited greatly from the broad experience and technical skills in the psycho-social and intercultural areas of the midwives who are also nurses. I learned to accept death as one accepts birth and life. In Malawi I again became aware of the fact that midwives are close to joy and love but also to pain and grief. There was however something I did not want to accept: the medical and social conditions under which many pregnant women suffer.

The state hospital I worked at has 28 places for delivery in one room (not a large delivery room). Eight midwives are meant to work per shift (12 hour service) but on average only approx. 5 midwives are present. Each woman comes with a guardian (personal companion). This guardian – mostly women – looks after the pregnant mother during the birth and after delivery while in childbed, day and night. Often this is the only person who is present during birth and in the hospital since the midwife on duty takes care of another woman giving birth at the same time. Under these circumstances, not even a birth in a hospital guarantees that a woman in labour gets medical care from qualfied staff.

The beds for women in labour were always occupied. Per day there are approx. 30 births on average and per year this amounts to approx. 7000 births (only in this hospital).

January 2012 / statistics for a state hospital in Blantyre:
  • 535 SVD (spontaneous vaginal delivery)
  • 46 Vacuum extraction
  • 18 breech
  • 3 forceps
  • 195 CIS (caesarean section)

The following facts have been even more important to me and motivated me to pursue the plan of building a birth clinic in Malawi:

  • Medical care can only provided for 54% of the births.*
  • Maternal mortality: 1100 of 100.000 women die in childbirth.
  • Infant mortality: 80 per 1000 births (according to the WHO).
The birth clinic will offer medical care in childbirth, also preventive medicine, childbed care (in Malawi no official free-lance midwives exist and thus thre is no care while in childbed at home), family planning / birth control, HIV/AIDS education etc. to fight against the following:
  • On average, each woman delivers 6.3 children during her life.
  • Only 38% of the women have access to modern contraceptives.*
  • Infant mortality below the age of 5: 110 of 1000.*
  • Approx. 60% of HIV positive persons in Malawi are women.
  • Spread of HIV: approx. 12% of the population (1.2 million people)
  • Average life expectancy of women: 55 years*
*source: state off the world´s mothers 2011

All of the above has encouraged me to found “chikondis e.V.” with the sole objective to support the “pachikondis birth clinic” project.
Midwife Swantje

Picture of Midwife Swantje Lüthge
Excerpts from the Articles of Association (…)

§2 Purpose of the Association

  1. The association’s purpose is to support sustainable development cooperation and public healthcare. This purpose is in particular pursued by supporting the birth centre registered in Malawi called “pachikondis birth clinic” and through help for self-help based on a small project in Malawi whose team manufactures “chikondis dolls”.
  2. To attain its goals, the association particularly

    • supports the “pachikondis birth clinic“ in a sustainable manner,
    • carries out targeted projects in cooperation with independent local organizations
    • supports and takes care of women who do not get sufficient medical care during their pregnancy, at childbirth and childbed and later regarding birth control, HIV/AIDS education and prevention,
    • cooperates with similar facilities in Malawi,
    • promotes educational programs, informs people and does PR work.
  3. The association pursues its non-profit objectives in part as supporting society and in part through own activities. Insofar as the association acts as supporting society pursuant to § 58 no. 1 of the German Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung), it only forwards its funds to other domestic or foreign entities or public-law bodies which realise tax-privileged objectives.
If you are interested in a membership don´t hesitate to contact us via e-mail.