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Improving Health in Africa’s Protected Areas

  • May 09, 2019
  • The Chapanaga Health Center in Malawi

New partnership between Americares and African Parks to benefit nearly 100,000 people living in and around conservation areas 

Patients wait to receive medical treatment near Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Congo, one of 15 national parks and protected areas managed by African Parks

Patients receive medical care near Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Congo, one of 15 national parks and protected areas managed by African Parks. Photo by Marcus Westberg.

Stamford, Conn. – May 9, 2019 – Americares is teaming up with wildlife conservation organization African Parks to strengthen the capacity of local health centers providing care to people living in and around Africa’s protected areas.

The new partnership is launching today in Malawi, where Americares and African Parks will improve access to health care at four health centers serving nearly 100,000 people near two of Malawi’s most important conservation areas—Liwonde National Park and the Majete Wildlife Reserve—both of which are managed by African Parks on behalf of the Malawian Government.

“This partnership with Americares enables African Parks to protect the health of even more people who live alongside endangered wildlife and critically important wild areas, creating improved livelihoods and a more sustainable future for all,” said African Parks Chief Executive Officer Peter Fearnhead.

The partnership builds on the capabilities of both organizations: Americares, the world’s leading nonprofit provider of donated medicine and medical supplies, will deploy its proven tools and resources to improve health centers, while African Parks, which is the leading conservation organization in Africa with both the largest amount of area under conservation and the largest ranger force of any one NGO in Africa, will employ effective park management through its local operations, networks and relationships to meet the shared goal.

“At Americares, we are continually looking for new and innovative ways to improve health for people affected by poverty or disaster,” said Americares Senior Vice President of Global Programs Dr. E. Anne Peterson. “The new partnership with African Parks will allow us to carry out our mission with vulnerable populations living in close proximity to wildlife while advancing conservation efforts that protect ecosystems and benefit communities. When local health centers thrive, patients have better health, more opportunities and increasingly productive lives.”

Over the next three years, health centers will undergo much-needed improvements, including the restoration of running water to enhance patient and health worker safety. Americares will also deliver medicine and medical supplies to the Ministry of Health facilities. One health center reported 40 percent of patients leave without the medications prescribed due to frequent stock-outs of essential medicine and medical supplies.

Health center staff will also receive training through the new partnership, including instruction in infection prevention and control measures, maternity care and newborn care. In addition to providing primary care services, two of the health centers serve as birthing centers for the local communities.

African Parks manages 15 national parks and protected areas in nine African countries spanning 40,000 square miles, in collaboration with local governments and communities across Africa—the largest and most ecologically diverse portfolio of parks under conservation management by any one NGO in Africa. Since its inception in 2000, African Parks has made remarkable progress in restoring these areas for both people and wildlife, working with local communities to advance sustainable socio-economic development, and leading transformative species reintroductions.

Americares is a health-focused relief and development organization that helps communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters; increase access to medicine and medical supplies; improve and expand clinical services; and prevent disease and promote good health. Since its founding 40 years ago, Americares has provided more than $17 billion in aid to 164 countries, including the United States.

To learn more about the partnership please visit www.americares.org/africanparks

Malawi Clinic in African Parks partnership

The Chapanaga Health Center in Malawi near the Majete Wildlife Reserve. The health center is one of four in Malawi that will benefit from Americares new partnership with African Parks. Photo by Alexa Gudelsky/Americares.