March 30, 2019 – 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 compared to 91% of women in rural areas nationally. 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  while only 49% attend four visits in rural areas nationally. 
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,  . Additionally, 96% of Kwitanda women who delivered in the last two years reported that they had attended a postnatal visit at a health facility , 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. 
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.
VillageReach transforms health care delivery to reach everyone, so that each person has the health care needed to thrive. We develop solutions that improve equity and access to primary health care. This includes making sure products are available when and where they are needed and primary health care services are delivered to the most under-reached. Radical collaboration with governments, the private sector and other partners strengthen our ability to scale and sustain these solutions. Our work increases access to quality health care for 46 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.
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