Malawians call for ownership, responsibility in strengthening community health systems

President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera on Tuesday officially launched the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Tipewe Cholera and Covid-19 Campaign, and the National Community Health Framework for 2023-2030, with a call to Malawians to take ownership and responsibility in strengthening their community health systems.

Chakwera stated that even development partners and well-wishers would not want to support communities that do not take responsibility for their health systems.

“Last month, during my participation in the United Nation’s General Assembly, I was encouraged by the number of countries and organizations around the world that want to support Malawi’s quest for improved and sustainable community health. As a case in point, one of my meetings was with Foundation S, which committed millions of dollars towards giving our communities resilience in the provision of health services. But I know that these helping hands would not be extended to us if we ourselves were not taking ownership of the responsibility to strengthen our community health systems,” he said.

He said initiatives like the National Community Health Day contribute to ensuring that Malawians are the majority shareholders of the pursuit for better community health, especially through the recognition of the vital role that Community Health Workers and other stakeholders play in keeping the country a nation of healthy citizens.

President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera

President Chakwera cited the provision of guidance to stakeholders during the implementation of community health services and programmes as one way Malawians can ensure primary ownership of the health of their communities.

He said it is against this background that his administration has been ensuring stakeholder compliance with the National Community Health Strategy as well as the National Acceleration Community Health Roadmap, which seeks to raise awareness for support on seven key community health priorities.

At this point, the President said his administration is closing the Human Resource Gap by hiring over 10, 000 additional Health Surveillance Assistants as well as increasing the number of Assistant Environmental Health Officers, Community Health Nurses, and Community Midwife Assistants.

“And since I became President in 2020, we have recruited 1,578 using resources from both Government and Partners, which is already over 10 percent of the total target, and we will continue steadily on this path until the Roadmap is fully realized. Improving Health Financing by improving mobilization, integration, and cost-effective utilization of resources. This is why I have been aggressively raising money for our health system around the world, including the billions we secured for Malawi through the Global Fund and other financiers.   The President of COP28, which is taking place in the United Arab Emirates next month, also recently informed me that one of the days of the conference this year will be focused on health, and so we must make the most of these opportunities to mobilize resources for Malawi’s health sector,” said Chakwera.

He revealed that his government needs additional resources to achieve its goal of constructing 900 health posts across the country, which are meant to be constructed as part of the roadmap.

“As part of the Roadmap, my administration has procured over 125 ambulances for the Central and District Hospitals, and I am pleased that one of these Ambulances is being handed over to Likoma today. As part of the roadmap, we are putting in place an Integrated Community Health Information System to harmonize recording and reporting. We are also strengthening Community Engagement by establishing and training community health structures, and enhancing social accountability of all stakeholders,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Chakwera has thanked development partners such as UNICEF, WHO, USAID, The Global Fund, GAVI, Lastmile Health, Malawi Redcross Society, Africa CDC, AMREF Malawi, Partners in Health, Mother2mother, Embassy of Iceland, JTI, the Health Services Joint Fund and others for providing the support for the implementation of health services in Malawi.

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