PREVENTIVE HEALTH SERVICES IN MALAWI

The core responsibilities of the Preventive Health Services is to efficiently and effectively design and implement preventive and promote health interventions and hence aim to reduce the burden of preventable, communicable and treatable diseases to a level of no public health significance in Malawi.  In order to achieve this, the department is guided by different strategic objectives through its programmes by mainly promoting community participation and involvement in the utilization of cost-effective essential health care packages.

The preventive health services department is one of the largest departments in the Ministry of Health and is home to the Health promotion services, epidemiology services, malaria prevention control programme, Tuberculosis control programme, Skin and leprosy programme, Environmental Health, Primary health care, Expanded Programme on Immunization Onchocericasis programme bilharzia control programme, public health reference laboratory, national Trypansomiasis programme Acute Respiratory Infections programme.

VISION

The vision of the Environmental Health Services Section is to have a healthy Malawi free from environmental health risks.

MISSION STATEMENT

To improve the health status of all people in Malawi by creating an environment free from Environmental health risks through provision of environmental health services offered by committed environmental health officers and other players

Overall programme objectives are to detect, prevent and control the occurrence of diseases and hazards resulting from environmental factors such as water, air, soil, and work environments.

Priority areas that require attention and intervention to promote Environmental Health services:

1. Food Safety and Hygiene (FSH)

2. Health and Safety

3. Disease prevention and control including vector management

4. Water, sanitation and hygiene

5. Port Health

6. Vector and Vermin Control

The 2008 Ouagadougou Declaration urged member states to revitalize PHC through “Community ownership and participation”. The declaration indicates that in order to improve community ownership and participation, member states are recommended to consider a number of issues including developing a policy and providing guidelines to strengthen community participation, promoting health awareness and fostering the adoption of healthier lifestyle, strengthening community management structures, including empowering communities and ensuring their involvement in the governance of health services through appropriate capacity-building.

The national Public Health Reference Laboratory (PHL) is a “stand alone laboratory” and its functions are well beyond the health sector.  It started its operations in 1988 and by the year 2011, the PHL became an umbrella designation for 6 distinct laboratories:

  1. HIV Reference Laboratory
  2. Nutrition Laboratory
  3. National TB Central Reference Laboratory
  4. Biochemistry
  5. Microbiology
  6. Parasitology

 

Its functional roles extend to actively support to the public sector, CHAM, private sector and the academia, including the University of Malawi (mostly Chancellor College; Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and College of Medicine (COM) and other non-government organizations.

The Epidemiology Unit is responsible for the following areas:

  • Implementation of Integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR) which monitors 15 diseases or conditions such as Malaria, TB, Schistosomiasis, AFP, NNT, Measles, Bacterial meningitis, Viral Haemorrhagic fever, STIs, cholera, HIV and AIDS, Dysentery, Plague, Poliomyelitis, Leprosy, and Pneumonia in under 5 children.
  • Implementation of cholera control and prevention activities.
  • Implementation of HIV Sentinel Surveillance.
  • Coordinating and implementing ARV monitoring and threshold surveys

Visit Phim Website

 

In November 2011 the Ministry of Health (MoH) formed a Task Force to develop a Strategic Plan, Concept Paper and Road Map as well as lead, advise and coordinate the consultations and development process towards the establishment of a Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM). The Task Force completed its work in August 2012 and the MoH Senior Management approved establishment of PHIM in November 2012.

A team was formed that will:

  1.  Cost the Strategic plan
  2. Develop the work plan for inception of PHIM
  3.  Mobilize resources for construction of PHIM
  4.  Construct PHIM
  5. Turning of PHIM into a Public Trust
  6. Operationalization of PHIM

The functions or the definition of such an institute can be done in a form of the statements shown below:

  1. Public Health Institutes provide science-based leadership and public health services, and they help catalyze the responses of countries to important public health challenges,
  2. They are science-based organization or network of organizations that provides national leadership and expertise to efforts to achieve substantive, long-term improvements in the public’s health,
  3. They are multi-faceted organizations that include people with a wide range of skills and experience who perform critical public health functions, such as surveillance and research,
  4. Examples include US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

PHIM objectives and setup:

1. PHIM will be a centre of excellence in public health that contributes towards quality and productive life of all Malawians,

2. Through its functions of providing evidence informed public health interventions and guidance on public health policy formulation, it will enable MoH to:

       - Attain health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and,

       - Attain the Malawi Growth Development Strategy (MGDS),

       - Address public health challenges, and,

       - Effectively respond to public health emergences.

3. PHIM will have the following scientific and administrative divisions:

  •  Scientific divisions

i. Public Health Reference Laboratory

ii. Surveillance, Research and Development

iii. Disease Prevention and Response

  •  Management and administrative divisions

i. Development of human resources for public health

ii. Financing and Administration

The Health Education Section (HES) was officially established by the Ministry of Health in 1969.

Since its inception, HES has been required to respond to a rapidly changing environment of health education behaviour in which the demand for its services has rapidly grown. Health Education Services manages all health communications for the Ministry of Health.

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast

Partner institutes for Preventive Health

Below are some of the partner institutes that work hand in hand with Ministry of Health in dealing with Preventive Health issues affecting Malawi

PREVENTIVE HEALTH PROGRAMMES IN MALAWI

The Preventive Health Programmes have been effectively designed and implemented to prevent and promote health interventions and hence aim to reduce the burden of preventable, communicable and treatable diseases in Malawi.  In order to achieve this, the directorate of Preventive Health Services is guided by different strategic objectives through its programmes by mainly promoting community participation and involvement in the utilization of cost-effective essential health care packages.

The following programmes are currently taking place: 

  1. Malaria Prevention and Control Programme
  2. Tuberculosis Control Programme
  3. Skin and Leprosy Programme
  4. Expanded Programme on Immunization
  5. Onchocericasis Programme
  6. Bilharzia Control Programme
  7. Trypansomiasis programme
  8. Acute Respiratory Infections programme

Preventive Health Team

Dr. Storn Kabuluzi

Director of Preventive Health Services

Dr. Mike Chesema

Deputy Director of Preventive Health Services