Lilongwe’s online health service helping expectant mothers for home-based care practices

Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda expressed her satisfaction with the progress of Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (online health service) in Lilongwe, saying the project is helping expectant mothers to observe good home-based practices.

Chiponda being appraised of challenges faced at Bwaila Hospital
Chiponda interacts with expectant mothers at Bwaila Hospital

She said this after she visited the project on Wednesday and she pledged that the Government is geared to support and incorporate it into the mainstream Ministry to financially take care of its members of staff.

Chipatala Cha Pa Phone project started after observing that the country was experiencing high rate of maternal and child mortality, which was at 675 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and 112 deaths per 1,000 under five births.

The idea for the project was mooted after discovering that underlying causes include the limited availability of timely and reliable health information for decision-making, as well as poor access to, and use of, health services.

It was discovered that expectant women and caregivers of young children delayed seeking care or taking appropriate preventative or curative action.

Some could not be able to access health facilities or may use health facilities unnecessarily, in an already overburdened health system.

The Malawi Ministry of Health and Population and VillageReach developed Health Center by Phone as a community-based hotline in the Balaka district of Malawi.

Called Chipatala cha pa Foni (CCPF) in Chichewa, the hotline initially focused on maternal and child health needs.

CCPF has since expanded to include all standard health topics—including water, sanitation, and hygiene; infectious diseases; and nutrition—in accordance with Malawi’s Ministry of Health and Population guidelines. Youth services were introduced in 2017, increasing access to sexual and reproductive health information for young people. CCPF also can address emergent health issues, such as cholera outbreaks.

CCPF is now owned, managed and operated by MoH serving all of Malawi across a broad range of health topics including COVID-19.

The Minister, in the company of her deputy, Chrissy Kanyasho Kalamula then went on to visit Bwaila Hospital and she told journalists that the facility requires substantial amount of money to resolve some of the challenges which it is facing.

“The hospital started while the population was small but now the space is the same while the population is so huge,” she said.

“They have informed me of various problems here and these includes that sewer system being old and that the hospital water system is not reliable.

“There are lots problems at the kitchen where some pots are not working and yet the hospital feeds 300 patients every day and that the maternity wing is too small.”

According to Lilongwe District Medical Officer, Dr Mary Chimseu, Bwaila Hospital serves a population of 3 million people.

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