Breaking new ground in Malawi
Limited access to health services in Malawi
Malawi is a densely populated country in south-east Africa. It belongs to the socalled "Least Developed Countries" as it ranks number 174 among 187 countries in the Human Development Report. The majority of Malawians live from subsistence farming and from less than 1.25 US Dollar per day. Live expectancy at birth is (male/female) 58/60 years. Many premature deaths are due to malaria which is endemic in Malawi.
Limited access to health services in Malawi affects a large number of Malawians. Only about half of the people live within a 5 km radius of any kind of health facility. Despite most public health services being free for the patients, there are often costs associated with transportation to and from a facility. Therefore, still many people abstain from seeking medical help or do so only once they are very seriously ill.
Health indicators, e.g. for mothers and children, are poor: The maternal mortality rate is 460 per 100,000 live births, the infant mortality rate is 58, and the mortality of under-fives is 92 per 1,000 live births. The majority of child deaths are due to preventable causes: neonatal conditions, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and malnutrition.
DIFAEM Partners in Malawi
One of DIFAEM's partners in Malawi is CCAP Nkhoma Synod of Malawi (Presbyterian Church), a member of the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM). CCAP Nkhoma Synod runs the ASSET project.
CCAP Nkhoma Synod Health Department
Health delivery services in Nkhoma Synod began in 1889. A small hospital was built at Nkhoma, 50 km from the capital Lilongwe, in 1915 and over the years it developed to a 220 bed hospital. At the different congregations health centres were established. Today Nkhoma Synod owns ten health centres, one of them being Chinthembwe health centre. Nkhoma Synod runs a nurses training college with about 100 students per year.
Attention for Primary Health Care (PHC) started in the 1930ies even before it was a widespread concept and developed into today’s services with under-five clinics, antenatal clinics, family planning and immunization services. The health departement became a full department at the time when the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa handed over full responsibility of the whole church to the local Malawian church in 1962.
Christian Health Association of Malawi
With the efforts of Dr C. Blignaut in establishing CHAM in 1966, the Nkhoma Synod Health Department joined the Christian Health Association in Malawi (CHAM). CHAM is an ecumenical organization owned by the Episcopal Conference of Malawi and Malawi Council of Churches. Together the churches render 37% of the health work in Malawi. By the end of 2008, CHAM had 173 member health units across the country. Out of these health facilities 20 are main hospitals, 19 community hospitals, 1 mental hospital and 132 health centers. 90% of these health facilities are located in the rural hard-to-reach settings of the country.
DIFAEM Projects in Malawi
Communities improve their health situation
The DIFAEM started the ASSET project to revitalizing Primary Health Care in the Ntchisi District in the catchment areas of two church health centres in 2011. This project is based on the "assets" of communities and people instead of focusing on...
Improving mental health in Malawi
Joyce, a young student, comes to Nkhoma Hospital in Malawi with severe abdominal pain. Because the examinations don’t reveal anything, she is sent home again. But she comes back and complains of various disorders - without her being helped. On her...
Improving the nutritional situation in Malawi
Although large parts of Malawi's land are used for agriculture, food shortages are rather frequent. Often the harvest is not used by the villagers for their own needs, or it spoils as a result of incorrect storage. Knowledge about balanced nutrition...