Malawi’s massive budget deficit has hit the health system hard.
International donors have withheld budget support since 2014 due to corruption scandals.
Despite this bleak situation, a national population-based survey conducted in 2016 confirmed that the country’s ambitious HIV programme has already achieved significant success.
As Malawi moves towards implementing the World Health Organisation-endorsed ‘test and start’ guidelines for HIV, the need for sustained funding and adequate human resources is more critical than ever.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has worked in the country since 1986 and provides a wide range of medical care, from HIV and tuberculosis(TB) treatment to maternal health and natural disaster response.
MSF’s work in Malawi: 2016
In Malawi, where an estimated 980,000 people are living with HIV, MSF runs projects to support efforts to combat the virus.
HIV CARE IN NSANJE AND CHIRADZULU
In Nsanje district, we support the severely underfunded district management team in running a fully decentralised HIV and tuberculosis (TB) programme that includes infants newly diagnosed with HIV.
We also support in providing care for patients with advanced HIV in the district hospital, and healthcare for truck drivers and sex workers.
For 18 years, we have been working in partnership with the health ministry to support HIV patients in Chiradzulu. A four-year handover process is underway to ensure high-quality management of stable HIV patients once MSF withdraws from the project.
Working in prisons
In Maula and Chichiri central prisons, where MSF provides HIV, TB and primary healthcare services, 97 percent of inmates were tested for HIV during the year.
Of those who tested positive, 94 percent were started on treatment and 93 percent achieved an undetectable viral load. We extended similar services to two district prisons where inmates have lower access to healthcare.
We continued the development of our transnational ‘corridor project’, which provides healthcare for key populations, including sex workers, truck drivers and men who have sex with men, along commercial routes between Beira in Mozambique and Malawi.
A total of 1,930 sex workers have been enrolled in Zalewa, Mwanza and a new site in Dedza, which opened in 2016.
After a major cholera outbreak on Lake Chilwa in early 2016, we launched a mass vaccination campaign, which reached 108,400 people.
An innovative two-dose strategy was used for 5,863 hard-to-reach fishermen, with the second dose being self-administered two weeks after the first.
We also concluded a nine-month emergency intervention in Kapise, on the border with Mozambique, where around 10,000 Mozambicans sought refuge from low-level civil conflict in their country in December 2015.
Find out more in our International Activity Report