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 benefiting over 10,000 patients a month.
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.
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. Patients in Mangochi often walk 2-3+ 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.
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As a result of this collaborative work, we have already seen a significant rise in the detection and treatment of hypertension, 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 healthcare and we are working with our local partners to develop training and technical support to enable local staff to provide better care to more patients.
Zainabu, a 23 year old mother, had to walk and wait 18 hours for a total of 6 minutes of clinical consultation with a medical officer. She has had aches and pains in her body for days and her baby has had open sores on her thigh for two months. This is her third visit to the health facility. Zainabu received painkillers but the ointment prescribed for her baby was out of stock. She doesn’t have the money to buy it anyway – it costs £1.50 and she doesn’t even have the 40p it costs to take a minibus to the clinic. Even then, Zainabu doesn’t complain. She is happy there is a free clinic service and that she managed to see a clinical officer and get some advice. For many others like her, this is not an uncommon situation. Your support can create a new reality for Zainabu, and allow others like her to receive better quality consultations, medical care support and transport.