Likoma — Malawi government has today launched the National Community Health Framework (2023-2030), the “Tipewe Cholera/Covid 19” campaign and re-launched the Human Papilloma virus vaccination drive.
The Ministry of Health through the Community Health Services Section and its partners have been implementing community health services as one of the strategies of attaining Universal Health Coverage by 2030. In 2019, 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 towards 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 to receive the Human Papilloma Virus (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 programme 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 programme 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 rain season, a time water borne diseases are at strife.
The President expressed his gratitude to UNICEF, World Health Organization, United States Agency for International Development, The Global Fund, GAVI, Last Mile Health, Mother2Mother, Embassy of Iceland and the private sector players for the continued support to government in the implementation of community health services in the country.
In her remarks United Nations Resident Coordinator Rebecca Adda Dontoh reaffirmed 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 programmes are vital in Malawi. “They bridge distances and costs, offering high Return of Investment (ROI), and serving as emergency response channels. The Government of Malawi’s investments in life-saving interventions through Community Health programmes 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 programmes 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 generated 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.