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Project information

Reducing Malawi's maternal and new-borns mortality

Datum aims to refurbish and fit out of three maternity clinics in rural Northern Malawi where need is at its greatest. Once built funding for these clinics dried up and they were now either operating in a dilapidated state with little or no access to supplies, medicine and equipment or not at all.

July 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Datum Foundation

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  • Need


    Malawi’s maternal and neonatal (zero to 28 days) mortality rates remain among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa despite combined efforts by government and its international partners to arrest it. In Northern Rural Malawi neonatal mortality rates are at 35 deaths per 1,000 and mothers maternal mortality ration is 7 per 1,000 from pregnancy related complications. The World Health Organisation states that most of these deaths are largely preventable with the provision of clean and basic facilities.


    Datum with its extensive expertise in Malawi based project aims to refurbish and fit out three rural maternity clinics where need is at its greatest. These clinics have been chosen as they are the only facilities in the areas able to provide specific maternal and antenatal services and the desperate need to reduce the distance pregnant mothers need to travel to seek health services. It has been shown that an 80% reduction in both mortality rates is possible with the provision of such facilities.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Refurbishment and fit out of Chiquina village maternity clinic to make fully functional.


    » Refurbish existing dilapidated antenatal ward to provide a safe and inviting place for expectant mothers- many who still give birth in their villages
    » Provide equipment, beds, mattresses, bed sheets and linen to enable the provision of a clean and professional maternity facility.

    What success will look like

    The existing clinic was built and never opened and is now in a dilapidated state. Success will be the first or many registered deliveries under the care of a resident midwife.

    Aim 2

    Provide access to water from a protected source, sanitation and hygiene


    » Provide hook up to a clean and reliable water supply to reduce exposed to the dangers of water borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery.
    » Build toilets to improve sanitation by providing sanitary facilities which are deemed to be an acceptable standard and to protect ground water sources

    What success will look like

    Physical evidence of a reliable and clean running water supply along with the built facilities operating for the benefit of all along with a reduction in hygiene related diseases

    Aim 3

    Improve health facilities by constructing nurses house and a guardian house for expectant mothers.


    » Build nurse house to provide free accommodation for nurses and medical staff to ensure women can get maternal care around the clock if needed
    » Build a guardian house for expectant mothers to stay prior to labour to reduce the distances required to travel after the onset of labour

    What success will look like

    The ability to accommodate maternity nurses and expectant mothers next to the clinic in fully occupied accommodation fit for purpose along side the working maternity clinic.

  • Impact


    The projects legacy will be dedicated facility providing free maternal and antenatal services to a rural population who would otherwise have to travel long distances on transportation that is both unreliable and not affordable meaning even minor complications often prove fatal for mother and baby. Maternal health remains an essential development priority for Malawi and these deaths, many of which are preventable impact whole communities. Its benefits evidenced, among others, thru medical records


    The biggest risks will be the failure to attract midwives and nurses and control costs to completing the renovation and build. These are all mitigated by the experience the Datum ambassadors have in working, identifying and delivering projects in rural Malawi. The proven success of many of its already finished projects is evidence that these risks can and will be successfully dealt with.


    The Datum trustees and chair regularly scrutinises all of its projects and they are lead by volunteer ambassadors for the foundation who give their expertise and time for free. In October each year the trustees visit the project and prepare a written report on progress. These are shared with donors

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £16,500

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,250 equipment and materials to provide clean and reliable water hook up
      £750 labour all employed from the local communities to dig and build infrastructure for clean water provision
      £2,000 outfitting maternity clinic equipment, beds, linen, blankets
      £1,500 refurbishment materials renovate and refurbish materials for existing dilapidated clinic
      £1,500 labour to refurbish all employed from the local communities to refurbish existing clinic
      £2,750 Nurses house materials Materials to build houses including the local making of bricks and the transport costs of materials
      £3,250 Guardian house materials Materials to build houses including the local making of bricks and the transport costs of materials
      £2,500 Labour to build 2 houses all employed from the local communities to build the 2 houses
  • Background


    Rural village of Chiquina is in the Nkhata Bay district in the Northern Region of Malawi. The village was chosen by Datum after it was identified as one of three having the greatest need locally for a maternity clinic following following consultations with local doctors, midwives and community groups. The community comprises predominantly of the rural poor who are subsistence farmers with little or no access to formal secondary school and health education meaning that many and simply unaware.


    The deaths that we know this project will help prevent has far reaching benefits which can simply not be ignored. These deaths, many of which are preventable, impact women who are not only childbearing but are also often the mainstays within a family, with responsibilities to care for the young and old as well as undertaking the role of breadwinners and educators of children. Such high rates of maternal mortality have a devastating impact on society as a whole.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Datum's ambassadors and volunteers all give their expertise & time for free. They are passionate about the projects undertaken & the need for sustainability long after completion. 100% of the funding received will be spent directly on the project locally and the budget demonstrates what can be achieved by experienced builders and project managers. This particular project is in an area that the Datum Foundation know well and where they are also respected and valued by the communities around.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mr Brewer - Volunteer

    Project manager. Builder by profession with 10 years experience building and renovating schools, medical clinics and maternity wards in rural Malawi

    Mr Buchanan - Chairman Of Datum Foundation

    Project control, scrutiny, monitoring and reporting to trustees and donors. London based Architect by profession and founder of the Datum Foundation

    Professor Dame Elizabeth Fradd DBE DL - Patron

    Medical adviser. Elizabeth’s working life and abiding passion is the continuous improvement of Healthcare.