Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog
06.03 2019

Many youth in Malawi are told that contraceptives are only for married adults. Yet so many of Malawi’s young people have expressed an unmet need. There are also unique experiences, preferences and challenges that adolescent girls and boys face in understanding, accessing and using contraceptives in Malawi. VillageReach worked with young researchers to tap into real insights that advance the development of sexual and reproductive health services and products tailored specifically for young people.

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05.30 2019

VillageReach has worked in Malawi since 2008, partnering with the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), the private sector and other partners to develop and implement high impact solutions. Current programs include Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), the Pharmacy Assistant Training Program, OpenLMIS, and Drones for Health.

Read the overview here (PDF).

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05.16 2019

“A reason, a season or a lifetime” is a saying that I can appreciate, and with the transition of the Kwitanda Community Health Project (KCHP) to Maikhanda Trust it was a season for VillageReach. In 2008, VillageReach began its journey, alongside the JBJ Foundation, to support the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) to achieve better results for maternal and child health in the Kwitanda community of Balaka district in Malawi.

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05.08 2019

Originally posted on The Medium.

Many health facilities across Malawi don’t have enough trained pharmacy staff to adequately manage stock and dispense medicines. These tasks often fall on health care providers, who already have many other responsibilities, namely caring for patients. In some cases, even a ground laborer or a security guard — who may have no training in pharmacy management — must step in to help.

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04.04 2019

Patuma and her daughter who benefit from Chipatala cha pa Foni – Health Center by Phone.

I am pleased to share VillageReach’s 2018 Annual Impact Report  with you. This year’s report demonstrates the gains we made last year in collaboration with Ministries of Health across sub-Saharan Africa and our private and non-profit partners. It takes a deep level of commitment to build sustainable solutions that increase access to health care for all, and we appreciate our generous donors and partners who help make this possible.

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03.31 2019

I’ve been fortunate to work with pioneering government leaders across sub-Saharan Africa, people who are leading their countries to identify and introduce solutions for pressing health challenges. There are many reasons that some new ideas take off while others fizzle.  But when it comes to reaching remote populations, Malawi didn’t let complexity get in the way.  Instead, the government chose to figure out some of the practical details.  

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03.30 2019


PRESS RELEASE

30th March 2019

VillageReach transitions Kwitanda Community Health Project to MaiKhanda Trust

VillageReach and MaiKhanda Trust today announced that MaiKhanda will assume responsibility for the Kwitanda Community Health Project (KCHP) in the Balaka district of Malawi. MaiKhanda’s community-based approach to health care will sustain and build on the progress achieved in maternal and child health begun by VillageReach, the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Kwitanda community, and JBJ Foundation in 2008.

Impressive strides have been made in health in Kwitanda thanks to KCHP. Nearly 96% of women in the community now deliver their babies in a health facility[1] compared to 91% of women in rural areas nationally.[2]  Kwitanda has also become known for the high percentage of women who attend four antenatal visits—nearly 76% of women in Kwitanda attend four visits [1] while only 49% attend four visits in rural areas nationally. [2] 

VillageReach conducted a household study in 2017—2018 that highlighted additional achievements in Kwitanda. The study, which explored health issues facing women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years-old) and children under five years, collected data from 414 women and 375 children. Notably, Kwitanda residents displayed much higher treatment-seeking behavior for common illnesses compared to their rural counterparts nationally—for example, 96% of children with symptoms of acute respiratory infection sought treatment at a health facility compared to 77% of children in rural areas[3],  [2] . Additionally, 96% of Kwitanda women who delivered in the last two years reported that they had attended a postnatal visit at a health facility [3], a crucial component in identifying any post-birth danger signs in mother and baby  and compared to 48% of DHS rural respondents who reported their health was checked after birth. [2] 

In addition to increasing demand for and quality of maternal and neonatal care, VillageReach also worked with the Kwitanda community to design and launch Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF), a health and nutrition hotline that is now extending access to the health system throughout the entire country.

VillageReach’s President Emily Bancroft said, “We are proud of the strong local partnerships we have built over the past decade that enabled us to improve the Kwitanda community’s access to quality health care.  We are confident that MaiKhanda is the best partner to carry on the relationships and ensure KCHP continues to develop as a model implementation of Malawi’s National Community Health Strategy.”

MaiKhanda’s Executive Director Eric Tsetekani added, “We are so humbled to be selected as the local partner to continue the KCHP work. Our discussions in Kwitanda reveal that VillageReach has created a remarkable relationship between the community and the healthcare workers. MaiKhanda greatly values the importance of dialogue between community and facilities for effective healthcare delivery. We will definitely continue with the good work that VillageReach started, including using findings from recent VillageReach studies to set up strategies to increase efforts for health promotion and disease prevention.”

VillageReach and MaiKhanda commit to a seamless transition process, working together to ensure the continued implementation of high-quality maternal, neonatal, and child health interventions in Kwitanda.  Both organizations have and will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Health, Balaka District Health Management Team, District Executive Committee, Health Surveillance Assistants, KCHP staff, community leaders and partners.  The transition process began in December and is expected to be completed by the end of April 2019. VillageReach will continue working with communities, the Ministry of Health and other partners in Malawi to develop new innovations and build programs that support the delivery of improved health services throughout the country.

About VillageReach

VillageReach works with governments to solve health care delivery challenges in low-resource communities. Our programs focus on increasing access to quality health care at the last mile, or the point at which services are delivered.  We develop and implement new ideas and approaches to ensure vaccines and medicines are available, increase the capacity of health workers and ensure they have access to data to improve health.  Our work improves the lives of more than 20 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.

About MaiKhanda Trust

MaiKhanda Trust is a Malawian non-governmental and non-profit organization that works with the Ministry of Health, partners and stakeholders in maternal and neonatal health service delivery with the primary mission to save the lives of mothers and their babies by supporting the efforts to improve health care both in communities and at health facilities.  With Malawi’s plan to achieve Universal Health Coverage, MaiKhanda’s approach is one of the best to increase community participation and improve quality of care at facility level. MaiKhanda has a presence in nearly half of the districts in Malawi.  

About JBJ Foundation

JBJ Foundation (JBJF) seeks to catalyze lasting improvements in the lives of the world’s poorest through targeted investments delivering cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable system change. Building on its long-standing focus on health in Malawi, JBJF is exploring additional sectors such as nutrition and education as it expands to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For inquiries or any further information about this press release, please contact:

  • VillageReach — Hope Ngwira: Senior Manager, Advocacy and Communications Email: ngwira@villagereach.org  or Phone: 0992 139 720
  • Maikhanda — Maikhanda Trust — Eric Tsetekani: Executive Director

Email: e-tsetekani@maikhanda.org or Phone: 0888 743 733

[1] Based on ongoing primary data collected on pregnant women in Kwitanda Jan 2018 to Sept 2018 by VillageReach
[2] Based on Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2015-16
[3] Based on a household survey conducted by VillageReach in November 2017 and March 2018
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03.22 2019

Almost one week ago, Cyclone Idai touched down off the coast of Mozambique, hitting Beira and nearby villages and leaving a path of destruction across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Now it is a race against time for frontline aid workers, who are working quickly to reach thousands of people trapped by the flooding.

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03.01 2019

The Malawi Ministry of Health and Population and VillageReach developed Health Center by Phone as a community-based hotline in the Balaka district of Malawi. Health Center by Phone extends the reach of the health care system to every community by providing access to certified health and nutrition information and services via a toll-free number.

You can view the PDF here.

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02.13 2019

Pharmacy Assistant Training Program in Malawi

Pharmacy Assistant Aaron Sendeza is one of the first cohort of Pharmacy Assistants trained through a partnership with Malawi’s Ministry of Health, the College of Health Sciences and VillageReach.  He’s been working at Lumbadzi Health Center in Lilongwe since 2015, ensuring that all medicines and medical supplies in his health center are available, reliable, and of high quality and contributing to the health of the 190,000 people served by this health center alone. The USAID Organized Network of Services for Everyone’s (ONSE) Health Activity supports the graduates of the program to mentor health workers in other facilities that don’t have Pharmacy Assistants, so they can also better manage and dispense medicines across Malawi.

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