Peace Corps celebrate 50 years in Malawi: Launches health program

The Peace Corps, which has had volunteers in Malawi since 1963, is celebrating its 50thanniversary with a launch of a new program that will address Malawi’s critical shortage of medical practitioners.

A statement issued by the Public Affairs Section at the Embassy of the United States of America in Malawi which Nyasa Times possesses says the Global Health Service Partnership program, will place eleven Peace Corps doctors and nurses in Malawi’s medical and nursing schools and is expected to be officially launched by  President Joyce Banda at Kamuzu Palace in the capital  Lilongwe on Friday 23 August.

“Malawi is one of three African countries, along with Tanzania and Uganda, chosen to participate in the Global Health Service Partnership Program.   A total of 30 new Volunteers in this program were sworn into the Peace Corps at the White House in Washington on July 18,” reads the statement.

It says five of the American physicians have been assigned to teach at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine, four nurses at Kamuzu College of Nursing, and two nurses at Mzuzu University where they will share their knowledge and skills with colleagues and students alike.

US Ambassador Jackson : Launch at Kamuzu Palace
US Ambassador Jackson : Launch at Kamuzu Palace

The statement quotes Ambassador Eric P. Goodsby, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator remarks sat their swearing in who said, “their work will help strengthen the capacity of health professionals and the capacity of health systems.  Their contributions will help position partner countries to more effectively, efficiently, and sustainably address some of their greatest health challenges.”

The Global Health Service Partnership is a public-private collaboration of the Peace Corps, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the non-governmental Seed Global Health organization.

Present during the launch will be the Peace Corps Director-designate from Washington Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Seed Global Health Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vanessa Kerry U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Jeanine Jackson, Peace Corps Africa Regional Director Dick Day, and Peace Corps Malawi Country Director Kevin Novotny.

The Global Health Service Partnership Program continues the Peace Corps’ long relationship with Malawians that began when the first 20 Peace Corps Volunteers arrived to teach in secondary schools.

There are currently 141 Volunteers in Malawi working in education, environment/natural resource management, and health.  During the past 50 years, tens of thousands Malawians, including some of the country’s most prominent leaders, have benefited by learning from and working with the thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers who have served here.

Overall, Peace Corps has achieved not only its first goal “To help the people of Malawi in meeting their need for trained men and women,” but also its second and third goals relating to promoting a better understanding between the people of Malawi and the people of the United States of America.

The U.S., which is Malawi’s largest bilateral partner, invests in the health sector with the goal of increasing access to quality health care to foster a healthier Malawian populace.

In 2012 the U.S. invested over $185 million in HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal and child care, nutrition, clean water, sanitation, and the health system infrastructure in Malawi.


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