A Midwife Protecting Mothers and Babies in Malawi

Nurse midwife Lyna Chikupila educates an adolescent about transmission of HIV.

Robin Wyatt/EGPAF

Lyna Chikupila is a nurse midwife technician and PMTCT coordinator for Grassroots Movement for Health and Development (GMHD), a community-based organization in Lilongwe, Malawi. A former employee of the Red Cross, Chikupila went through extensive training to become a nurse, a dream she had always nurtured. Increasing the number of women giving birth in health facilities  is one of GMHD’s key aims, and it spreads the word of the importance of this through individuals like Chikupila.

By underlining the high rates of maternal death, the risk of disease transmission, and the possibility of traditional birth attendants contracting infections themselves, GMHD is seeking to put an end to home-based deliveries. The organization has been significantly assisted in this thanks to a network of peer educators, who have proven highly effective at ensuring that an understanding of PMTCT has filtered into the community.

“Because we’ve trained youth as peer educators,” Chikupila explains, “we’ve been able to take advantage of the fact that young people tend to be more open with members of their own age group, who face similar challenges.”

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) provides technical assistance to GMHD and other community-based organizations in Malawi with funding from ViiV Healthcare.