Primary Health Care in Malawi is faced with different setbacks compromising access to health care by the masses especially those in rural communities solely relying on Government hospitals.Malawi made significant strides in meeting the millennium development goals for literacy, childhood mortality, HIV and malaria but other areas, for example, maternal health, still require innovation and further effort.
Malawi’s efforts to attain the sustainable development goals are seen in its attempts to address the World Health Organization (WHO)s six building blocks of health service delivery namely; Human Resources for Health (HRH), infrastructure, medicines and technology, health financing, health information systems, leadership and governance. For example, Malawi has rolled out its decentralization policy program in an attempt to devolve health service governance to facilitate community ownership and participation for delivery of Essential Health Packages (EHP).The progress of this reform, however, has been thwarted by lack of capacity and resources at the decentralized platforms to carry out their respective duties.
The USAID funded Health Communication For Life Project has equipped different community structures with skills to encourage communities to own community health initiatives by participating in them.
To improve local healthcare for people around Simbi area, Simbi CTG which is under the HC4L project in Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa mobilized chiefs to construct a medicaldispensary which is now at window level of construction .The project, started in December 2020 after Simbi CTG called chiefs from the surrounding 26 villages to come together and discuss on the need for a self-funded dispensary building to ease mobility challenges to the current health facility.
In November 2020, the meeting which Simbi CTG initiated was successful as chiefs agreed to contribute sand and other building materials including burning bricks as well as finding people with construction skills to work on the site while the Member of Parliament for the area contributed Cement and Iron sheets which are to be used for the building.
One of the Chiefs from Simbi, Sam Mbeya explained that so far the project is going well as there has not been any setback since its inception. “All 26 villages and their chiefs are taking part in the work and are keeping their end of the deal. We ensure that all necessary materials are available such as sand and water and all people involved are eager to contribute.
Such a self-funded initiative will help in shortening the distance that people have to walk to access health care in this community; we therefore thank the Community Theatre group for addressing problems that need community action rather than mere talk.” Said the chief
Chairman for Simbi CTG Dyson Fulambwe said they saw the need to mobilize the villages on having their own dispensary as the area depends on Chakhaza Health Centre which is about 15 Kilometres from their villages.
“It becomes difficult for someone to go to Chakhaza Health center anytime they feel sick, as such most people just stay back with their illness hence affecting prompt health care seeking as advocated by the group. The current building here at Simbi is only used for under 5 clinics but with the dispensary, we hope all age groups will be assisted and it will ease the mobility challenges.” Explained Fulambwe
Fulambwe added that once the dispensary is completed, they will request the Government to provide permanent staff that will help the surrounding communities on different health issues.
The director for Simbi CTG Binwell Kapasuka added that since the group spearheaded the project through mobilizing chiefs to take part, he was chosen as the head and overseer of the construction that is expected to end soon.
Simbi CTG has a membership of 16 people of which 9 are male and 7 Female .The club carries out different sensitizations on the HC4L project’s thematic areas through Community theatre as well as home visits to targeted households comprised either pregnant couples or caretakers of under 2 children.
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine ISSN: (Online) 2071-2936, (Print) 2071-2928.Accessed on 20 February ,2021