The role of the church with regards to maternal health : a case study of the church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Synod of Livingstonia

Chilongozi, Mwawi Nyirenda (2017-03)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Many women in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Malawi, in particular, die during childbirth due to preventable and treatable complications that develop during pregnancy and childbirth. This study is motivated by the need to reduce the maternal mortality ratio in Malawi, which higher in comparison to other countries in Southern Africa. Therefore, the study aims to interrogate the role the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), Synod of Livingstonia plays or can play to reduce maternal mortality. The study is undertaken within the field of Theology and Development with a focus on the intersection between gender, health and theology. The study discusses development approaches and discourses; the historical perspectives of issues of women in development and how it has shifted from Women In Development (WID); Women And Development (WAD) to Gender and Development (GAD). It placed maternal health within the Gender and Development approach. It further explains how the global initiatives on maternal health and the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals have brought awareness of maternal health as a developmental issue. The initiatives have assisted governments and non-governmental organisations to put strategies that would assist in reducing maternal mortality and it has been noted that Faith-Based Organisations play a crucial role in the health sector in most countries in Africa, including Malawi. The findings indicate that maternal health mirrors the disparities between developed countries and developing countries, between the rich and the poor, between the educated and the uneducated, between the urban and the rural women. Maternal deaths are caused by preventable and treatable complications that develop during pregnancy and childbirth, however, these complications result from socio-cultural, religious, economic and political factors. Above all, maternal mortality is perpetuated by gender inequality in societies. Further the study analysed the role of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Synod of Livingstonia with regards to maternal health using Mercy Oduyoye’s four theological themes as the theological lens. It has been noted that the Synod of Livingstonia is playing a crucial role in the education and health sectors in Malawi. However, the Synod of Livingstonia regard maternal health as a health issue and women’s issue and therefore does not tackle maternal health at different forums. This study concludes that maternal health is a socio-cultural issue, a developmental issue, a gender issue, an economic and political issue that needs to be tackled through the collaboration of the government and churches and the communities in general. Denominations such as the CCAP, therefore, has a crucial role to play in addressing this challenge and the study concludes with recommendations to the Synod of Livingstonia as to how it could assist in issues of maternal health.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Baie vroue in Afrika suid van die Sahara, en Malawi spesifiek, sterf tydens geboorte weens voorkombare en behandelbare komplikasies wat tydens swangerskap en geboorte ontstaan. Hierdie studie is gemotiveer deur die behoefte om die moedersterftesyfer in Malawi, wat hoër as in ander lande in Suidelike Afrika is, te verlaag. Hierdie studie is dus daarop gerig om die rol te ondersoek wat die Kerk van Sentraal-Afrika, Presbiteriaans (KSAP), Sinode van Livingstonia, in die afname van moedersterftes speel of kan speel. Die studie val binne die terrein van Teologie en Ontwikkeling, en fokus op die inter-sektoriese wisselwerking van geslag, gesondheid en teologie. Die studie bespreek ontwikkelingsbenaderings en diskoerse: die historiese perspektiewe van kwessies rondom vroue in ontwikkeling en hoe dit van Vroue in Ontwikkeling (VIO), Vroue en Ontwikkeling (VEO) na Geslag en Ontwikkeling (GEO) verskuif het. Moedergesondheid word binne die Geslag- en Ontwikkelingsbenadering geplaas. Die studie verduidelik verder hoe wêreldwye inisiatiewe oor moedergesondheid en die Millennium Ontwikkelingsdoelstellings asook die Volhoubare Ontwikkelingsdoelstellings bewustheid vir moedergesondheid as ontwikkelingskwessie geskep het. Die inisiatiewe het regerings en nie-regeringsorganisasies bygestaan in die implementering van strategieë wat tot die afname van moedersterftes sal bydra en daar is bemerk dat geloofsgebaseerde organisasies ʼn beslissende rol in die gesondheidsektor in die meeste lande in Afrika, insluitend Malawi, vervul. Die bevindings dui daarop dat moedergesondheid die ongelykhede tussen ontwikkelde lande en ontwikkelende lande, tussen ryk en arm, tussen opgeleide en onopgeleide, tussen stedelike en plattelandse vroue weerspieël. Moedersterftes word deur voorkombare en behandelbare komplikasies veroorsaak wat gedurende swangerskap en geboorte ontstaan. Hierdie komplikasies is egter die gevolg van sosio-kulturele, godsdienstige, ekonomiese en politieke faktore. Geslagsongelykheid is die enkele grootste faktor wat tot gevolg het dat daar nie 'n afname aan moedersterftesyfers is nie. Verder ontleed die studie die Kerk van Sentraal-Afrika, Presbiteriaans, Sinode van Livingstonia, se rol met betrekking tot moedergesondheid deur van Mercy Oduyoye se vier teologiese temas as teologiese lens gebruik te maak. Daar is bemerk dat die Sinode van Livingstonia ʼn belangrike rol in die opleidings- en gesondheidsektore in Malawi speel. Die Sinode beskou moedergesondheid egter as ʼn gesondheidskwessie en ʼn vrouekwessie, wat meebring dat moedergesondheid nie by verskillende forums aandag ontvang nie. Hierdie studie bevind dat moedergesondheid ʼn sosiokulturele kwessie, ʼn ontwikkelingskwessie, ʼn geslagskwessie, ʼn ekonomiese en politieke kwessie is wat deur die samewerking van die regering en kerke en gemeenskappe oor die algemeen aangepak moet word. Denominasies soos die KSAP het dus ʼn deurslaggewende rol wat die hantering van hierdie uitdaging betref. Die studie word afgesluit met aanbevelings aan die Sinode van Livingstonia oor maniere waarop kwessies rondom moedergesondheid aangepak kan word.

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