National Community Health Day: Malawi Launches Tipewe Cholera/Covid-19 Campaign.

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Malawi government, on the 25th of October, launched the National Community Health Framework (2023-2030), the “Tipewe Cholera/Covid 19” campaign, and re-launched the Human Papillomavirus vaccination drive.

The Ministry of Health, through the Community Health Services Section and its partners, has been implementing community health services as one of the strategies to attain Universal Health Coverage by 2030. In 2019, the government, through the Ministry of Health set this day with the purpose of raising awareness about the importance of community health in Malawi. Express appreciation for community health impact and community health workers and other actors across the community health system. As well as advocate for more resources for community health interventions.

Speaking at the launch and commemoration in Likoma, H.E. the President of Malawi, Dr Lazarus Chakwera encouraged communities to have all girls aged between 9 and 14 receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

He stated that Malawi has a life-saving vaccine that provides primary prevention of cervical cancer. This vaccine is freely available for all.

“Malawi introduced the HPV vaccine in 2019, targeting girls at nine years old. Although the program started well, the last two years have seen a significant decline in the uptake of the HPV vaccine among our girls. The re-launch of the HPV vaccination program in Malawi is a critical step in our commitment to promoting optimum health”, President Chakwera said.

He stated that despite Malawi making strides in containing Cholera, preventive measures are critical for the vulnerable and those in high-risk areas especially this rainy season, a time when water-borne diseases are at strife.

The President expressed his gratitude to UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the United States Agency for International Development, The Global Fund, GAVI, Last Mile Health, Mother2Mother, the Embassy of Iceland, and the private sector players for the continued support to the government in the implementation of community health services in the country.

In her remarks, United Nations Resident Coordinator Rebecca Adda Dontoh reaffirmed the United Nations’ commitment to quality health service delivery and human rights protection. She stated that collaborative efforts have successfully reduced Cholera and Covid-19 cases in Malawi including tackling the aftermath of natural disasters like Cyclone Freddy.

She said community health programs are vital in Malawi. “They bridge distances and costs, offering high Return on Investment (ROI), and serving as emergency response channels. The Government of Malawi’s investments in life-saving interventions through Community Health programs over the past few decades have saved millions of lives. There has been a notable decline in under-five mortality. Successes include impactful interventions like immunization, Safe Motherhood, WASH, nutrition programs, and response to public health emergencies”, she said.

Meanwhile, President Dr Lazarus Chakwera took time to appreciate various developments taking place in the area, a solar-powered system that is used as a source of energy on the Island, port services, and the expansion of Chima Health Centre.

According to Director of Health and Social Services Dr Gracewell Mathewe, Likoma district currently relies on St Peters Hospital, under the Anglican Church which is overwhelmed.

“We have one small delivery room, which has been divided into antenatal, post-natal, and another ward where we put neonates that have complications. “The population is growing, and as government, we need to effectively serve the community. We hope that after construction of this OPD at Chima, we will have a fully-fledged Maternity Wing and other structures to address the district’s needs,” says Mathewe.

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