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Malawi

Credit:A woman rearranges her merchandise at Chidzanja Market in Balaka, Southern Malawi. (Photo/Thoko Chikondi)

Our Work in Country

As one of the poorest countries in the world, Malawi was ranked 172 out of 189 countries on the UNDP 2019 Human Development Index. Impoverished communities with few resources often have limited access to quality health care and this is especially true for many of the 82% of Malawians that live in rural areas.

To help address these concerns, Americares partnered with African Parks and the Government of Malawi to provide quality health care in remote and underserved communities. By investing in health center infrastructure, improving access to life saving medicines and supplies, providing training and capacity building to health care workers, and supporting community health outreach and engagement, Americares helped to establish thriving health centers that can improve health outcomes and build community resilience.

Working in Malawi since 2003.

Akuzike Tasowana Americares Project Manager for Majete area interacts with construction workers at Chapananga Health Centre in southern Malawi where Americares have constructed a new secure water pump, water pump house, and painted the outpatient centre

Our Work with our Partners

For three years, Americares worked with wildlife conservation organization, African Parks, to strengthen the capacity of local health centers and provide quality health care to communities living in and around Malawi’s protected areas.

Officially launched in 2019, the partnership focused on improving health infrastructure and services at four local health centers that serve a catchment area of around 1.3 million people. These four health centers are located near two of Malawi’s most important conservation areas – Liwonde National Park and the Majete Game Reserve– both of which are managed by African Parks on behalf of the Malawian Government.

African Parks supports conservation and community development activities that protect fragile ecosystems and reduce community involvement in poaching. Americares implemented activities that improved health service quality and access through the thriving local health center model that invests in local health centers and responds to relevant health concerns. As the programs adapted to address the shocks to the health system due to COVID-19, the cross-sector partnership enabled us to extend our reach to the most vulnerable populations and enabled both organizations to have greater impact in the health of the community and ecosystem at large.

Photo: Americares Project Manager for Majete area interacts with construction workers at Chapananga Health Centre in southern Malawi where Americares has constructed a new secure water pump, water pump house, and painted the outpatient center (Photo byThoko Chikondi)

Health Snapshot in a Pandemic*

As COVID-19 continues to threaten worldwide, African countries, including Malawi, face numerous challenges to fight this global pandemic. Most health facilities in Malawi including district and central hospitals have had acute shortages of COVID-19 related Personal Protective Equipment for health care workers. In addition, Malawi has only 13 hospital beds per 10,000 people, a fraction of what might be needed in a rapid spread of cases.

Even during the COVID Pandemic, HIV/AIDS remains the leading cause of premature death and the second leading cause of disability, while malnutrition and poor water and sanitation also contribute to adverse health outcomes in the country.

While the Malawi government made significant strides in fighting the pandemic, Americares Malawi team worked with them, and African Parks, to help strengthen health facilities and protect health care workers. Americares has supported key water and sanitation infrastructure investments at the health centers, partnering with the government to support health worker training on COVID-19 clinical case management in three districts, and providing crucial hand washing infrastructure and outreach in over 50 rural communities.

Key Health Statistics*:

  • Total expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP: 11.38%
  • As of 2018, one million Malawians were living with HIV/AIDs
  • As of 2018 37% of children under five were stunted
  • 439 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births

*Health snapshot statistics from WHO and World Bank

Photos by Thoko Chikondi

Recent Health Center Projects Completed


The District Maintenance Team finalized the construction of an ashpit and incinerator at Namanolo Health Center. Previously the health center did not have any appropriate infrastructure for waste disposal. Prior to the completion of the ash pit and incinerator, the facility used a makeshift incinerator made from a water reservoir tank. This method did not conform with medical standards, nor was it safe for staff to use. The construction of the incinerator will go a long way in ensuring safety of patients as well as children who are close to the facility and might be affected by the removal of medical waste at the facility.

Emergency Response in Country

Due to the infrastructure damage and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ana, thousands of people remained displaced across 52 displacement camps in Malawi’s Chikwawa district (down from a total of 92 camps in the immediate aftermath of the storm).   

In response to this emergency, Americares supported the procurement and distribution of urgently needed WASH supplies including water treatment supplies and buckets for use in the camps. The Americares Malawi team led the procurement and distributed the supplies with the support of our partner, African Parks. Upon delivery of the WASH supplies, local Health Surveillance Agents (HSAs) delivered hygiene promotion discussions at each of the camps.

Americares Emergency Response team also awarded our colleagues in the African Parks Partnerships team funding for cholera prevention activities, stemming from conditions that resulted from Tropical Cyclone Ana. The team in Malawi used the funds to purchase and distribute HTH (chlorine) to clinics and health centers in Namanolo, Mwima, Ulongwe, and Nandumbo. Further, the program funds directly supported mass sensitization and community mobilization to five locations – Mmanga, Namanolo, Mwima, Ulongwe, Nandumbo. Funds also supported community health workers who spread cholera preparedness messaging.

If you would like more information on our work in Malawi, please contact AfricaHealth@americares.org.

Recent Aid in Country

$45,000

worth of PPE distributed to local health centers and hospitals

71

handwashing stations distributed to health centers, markets and village clinics

246

health workers trained in COVID-19 Clinical Case Management