HEALTH SYSTEM STRENGTHENING

Malawi is a small landlocked country in southern Africa with over 75% of its 17 million population living on less £1 a day. In 2018, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranked it as the 3rd poorest country in the world.

Malawi’s health system struggles due to the high burden of diseases, low level of health workers and overall lack of funding to provide health services to the population. The top causes of death are HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, complications at birth and malnutrition.

DWW has been operating in Malawi for four years since 2016, and in 2018, we launched a Strengthening Healthcare Systems project to support essential health services in Mangochi, one of the poorest regions in Malawi and to support high risk patients in the city of Blantyre. Working with a local NGO committed to delivering good quality healthcare, free of charge in the most hard to reach areas, DWW is now helping over 10,000 patients a month.

How are we helping?

The biggest challenge facing the healthcare system in Malawi is the shortage of human resources for health. Malawi has 2 doctors for every 100,000 population as opposed to the EU average of 340 doctors per 100,000 population. Most people in Malawi will never see a doctor in their lives and will only be treated by a Clinical Officer or Medical Assistant with 2-3 years of clinical training.

Patients in Mangochi often walk 3-5 hours to the clinic and wait a further 3-4 hours to be seen by a Clinical Officer. Women travel for hours in labour to access maternity facilities.

Doctors Worldwide is providing extra clinical officers in each of the 3 clinics that we are currently supporting to double the amount of clinical staff and allow for better quality consults.

In addition to the clinical officers, Doctors Worldwide is providing a cohort of nursing staff which enabled the opening of the new Somba maternity unit in Mangochi - the very first maternity unit in the region. The unit currently delivers over 25 babies a month and provides over 150 antenatal and postnatal checks.

DWW has also implemented a system of primary healthcare in the some of the Mangochi clinics and trained staff to work towards good standards of patient consultations, including early detection of hypertension, greater HIV/AIDS service coverage, identification and treatment of malnutrition and patient follow ups.

As a result of the collaborative work, we have already seen a significant rise in the detection and treatment of hypertension which will save lives, as well as much greater access to HIV Testing and Counselling which will reduce further HIV infection risks and increase the life expectancy of those affected. Furthermore, DWW has identified major bottlenecks and barriers to the delivery of good quality health care and we are working with our local partners to develop trainings and technical support to enable local staff to provide better care to more patients.

DWW plans to increase the local NGO’s capacity to deliver good quality health care through technical support and trainings and the recruitment of additional health workers.