Norwegian Church Aid unveils MK4.5 bn health project in Malawi

The Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) on Tuesday unveiled MK4.5billion (69million NOK) health project aimed at improving access to health care in communities of Malawi from 2013 -2015.

The project is targeting 20 districts across the country and it targets women of child bearing age, pregnant women, men, orphans and vulnerable children, people living with HIV, tutors and management of health training, according to NCA’s Senior Program Manager, Esther Masika.

She said Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) would be the leading partners in the implementation of the project in health facilities and in health training institutions while psychosocial support would be implemented by faith-based organizations in the 20 target districts.

“The program seeks to improve health and environment of the mother and child through the provision of quality maternal, neonatal, child health, psychosocial support services and improving the quality of health workers in Malawi by 2015,” explained Masika.

Minister of Heath, Catherine Gotani speaking during the opening cerenmony.-Photo credit Mana

Minister of Heath, Catherine Gotani speaking during the opening cerenmony.-Photo credit Mana

Speaking during the program launch at Pacific Hotel in Lilongwe, the Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Asbjorn Eidhammer, described the initiative as good division of labour considering that while the Embassy was working with the Government, the NCA was working with CHAM – an institution which is very instrumental in the country’s health services.

He said as development partners, Norway realizes the hurdles Malawi’s health system is going through and that it is incumbent upon his country to give support.

“We are all aware of the present difficulties in the sector, with the shortage drugs,” said Eidhammer, adding, “Donors are heavily engaged in this sector through our extensive funding and as development partners we cannot free ourselves from being part of this situation; we must be part of the solution to the problems the country is facing.”

The Norwegian Ambassador said his government had, over the last months, worked hard with the Malawi Government to find ways out and that Norway was ready to assist to see the situation improving in few months.

He further observed that the program NCA had just unveiled was very much in line with the initiative for Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood, which President Dr. Joyce Banda was implementing in the country.

In her remarks, Minister of Health Catherine Gotani Hara thanked the Norwegian Government for the support it gives to Malawi and she said the launched project would play a vital role in enabling the country in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) 4, 5 and 6.

She said government would ensure that the project’s objectives are achieved as anticipated and that all the program’s activities are well coordinated in all the 20 target districts.

The target districts of the NCA Health Program are Mulanje, Phalombe, Thyolo, Nsanje, Mwanza, Machinga, Chikwawa, Mangochi, Balaka, Blantyre and Zomba in the south; Ntcheu, Dedza, Lilongwe, Ntchisi and Dowa and Nkhotakota in the centre, and in the north, Chitipa, Mzimba, Nkhatabay and Rumphi.

NCA’s interventions in Malawi’s health system started in 2005 with a health training program in cooperation with CHAM and Ministry of Health following Malawi’s call to development partners in 2004 to increase production of health workers when the country’s health system faced a crisis in human resource.

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