Every quarter, the HRTWG (Human Resources Technical Working Group) meets to discuss HR related topics in the healthcare sector of Malawi. It’s usually hosted by the Ministry of Health with many stakeholders (donors, NGOs, development agencies, training institutions) represented.
At the most recent meeting, the 1 Million Community Health Workers campaign gave an excellent presentation on their goal (“To train 1 million community health workers in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2015”) and methods to achieve it. The presentation given by Heather from Columbia University was very slick and polished. We are in very early stages of working together to learn from what’s happening in Burkina Faso and Senegal, whom are also implementing iHRIS and part of 1mCHW. Specifically, how the Ministry of Health in each country can effectively monitor and evaluate all health workers in their country. Including those employed by NGOs and private institutions and are therefore not on the MoH’s payroll.
Over 80% of the Malawi population live in rural areas (source). So the need for health workers there is extremely significant. This is compounded by difficult working conditions which discourage health workers to stay there to server their local communities. Especially once they are qualified and have the opportunity to get a better paid job in an urban area.
Then MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders) showcased a moving short video on their work in Thyolo, a southern district in Malawi. We currently have 3 VSO volunteers in Thyolo, including Mariam (part of my October 2012 batch) who is teaching midwifery. I kept looking for Mariam in the background but she didn’t make the cut! So no guest appearance from her unfortunately.