BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Prenatal services at the clinic were free, but the motorcycle taxi fare cost more than Monica Maxwell could afford. Just four weeks before delivering her baby, she cobbled together 1,400 kwacha ($1.75) for the 50-kilometer (31-mile) round trip. It was only her third visit — fewer than her first two pregnancies. The money she made selling tomatoes dried up amid the pandemic. Her husband’s income selling meat also dwindled.
“It was the most difficult period of our lives. We had no money for our daily survival,” Maxwell, 31, said. “Mostly we stayed home.”