I recently joined Dr. Dalitso Kabambe, the Director of Planning and Policy Implementation of the Malawian Ministry of Health, for a meeting with Jessica Crawford and Zachariah Jezman, Country Director and Project Manager of VillageReach.
We discussed Chipatala Cha Pa Foni and the possibilities of scaling the project nationally. Chipatala Cha Pa Foni, or CCPF, is an innovative mHealth solution for maternal and child health case management and health education in Malawi’s most remote areas. It provides two services: a toll free hotline offering health information, advice and referrals and a tips & reminders service that sends voice or SMS messages to registered pregnant women, women of childbearing age and guardians of children under one year of age.
Mr. Jezman and Mrs. Crawford provided a thorough review of the history of CCPF, the services it provides and the impact it has made in its expanding catchment areas. At the end of our meeting, Dr. Kabambe and I were escorted by the VillageReach staff for a tour of CCPF’s hotline located on the Balaka District Hospital campus. Doreen Namasala, one of the five hotline workers for CCPF, explained the procedures for handling phone calls and how information is logged into the system. Even during our brief tour, calls came through to the hotline and Dr. Kabambe and I were able to observe CCPF in action.
Throughout the visit, Dr. Kabambe expressed deep concerns about the state of maternal health in Malawi and the great need for effective solutions that can change health behaviors on a large scale. He stressed that maternal health is among the top three health priorities in Malawi today. Most notably, Dr. Kabambe commented that the great work CCPF has accomplished sounds like “sweet, sweet music” to his ears. His excitement about CCPF is no doubt a positive step for the future of VillageReach’s project and, most importantly, the state of maternal health. I look forward to our continued partnership in reducing the burden of disease in Malawi.
Fannie Kachale Director of Reproductive Health Ministry of Health, Malawi