Government calls for concerted efforts towards health service delivery

Mangochi, November 17, Mana: Embassy of Iceland on Tuesday handed over 570 bicycles to the Ministry of Health to be used by health surveillance assistants (HSAs) in Mangochi which is meant to ease transport problems in reaching out to a population of 1.2 million with health services across the district.

Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Dr. Charles Mwansambo hailed the Embassy of Iceland for the gesture following the bicycle donation at Makoli Health Post in Chief Chowe’s area in the district.

Mwansambo called on other development partners to support government in addressing various challenges which affect health service delivery in the country, saying limited equipment and transport were some of the challenges facing the health service delivery in Malawi.

“Realisation of universal health coverage can only be done if health services are delivered at household level in an integrated approach and in Malawi most of the health services reach households through HSAs,” he said.

Mwansambo added: “Mangochi district is not exceptional because it faces the same challenges and I have been informed that the HSA population ratio for Mangochi is very high as one HSA serves 2,300 people as compared to the recommended ratio of one HSA to 1000 population.”

Mwansambo and Secretary for Local Government, Dr. Esmie Kainja receiving the push bicycles from Inga Petursdottir.

He said the donations complement President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s initiative towards the promotion of community health service delivery in the country.

“We have been monitoring the community health support the health sector has been getting from the Government of Iceland, notably the construction of health posts and staff houses, donation of equipment and transport to the HSAs and capacity building for HSAs and environmental health officers,” said Mwansambo.

In her remarks, Head of Mission in the Embassy of Iceland, Inga Petursdottir said the Embassy of Iceland invested K1.5 billion kwacha in supporting the health sector in Mangochi.

“In the last two years, we have built 16 health posts, five are about to be ready in the coming month, nine maternity wards, staff houses and training for the community structures,” said Petursdottir.  

Petursdottir: Embassy of Iceland is supporting health services in Mangochi Pic Maxwell Kudzala (Mana)

Speaking earlier, Senior Chief Chowe applauded the Embassy of Iceland for constructing five health posts and two maternity wings in his area.

Senior Chief Chowe of Mangochi. Pic. Maxwell Kudzala (Mana)

Chowe also asked government and other development partners to construct a health post at a village called Bala Maliro.

The Embassy of Iceland has been supporting Mangochi district for more than 30 years and is currently implementing Mangochi Basic Services Programme (MBSP) which is meant to improve provision and use of basic services, maternal health, family planning, water and sanitation and community development for men and women living in rural areas.