Addressing healthy settings in Malawi
In February 2016, the SCHI team were invited to join the National Annual Environmental Health Review meeting in Lilongwe at the Bingu International Conference Centre. This 2 day meeting aims to review the current practices and management of environmental health services in Malawi, including updates and presentations from stakeholders on new programmes and collaborations.
Tracy Morse updated the national group on the healthy settings approach, outlining the methods used, challenges and successes of the programme in Chikwawa since its inception in 2013. Members were particularly interested in the proposed introduction of Village Action Groups, constructed of demographic representation from across the community population, and a supportive discussion was held on the role of this group within the current decentralised structures in Malawi.
Overall the Environmental Health section within the Ministry of Health were receptive to the wider introduction of the healthy settings approach as a platform for community development which fit with the National Health Sector Strategic Plan.
Kondwani Chidziwisano, who has been working with us and Mr Kingsley Lungu on the re-development of the Village Health Committee training toolkit – presented the new toolkit to the room of national environmental health officers for feedback. The overall feedback was positive, and as planned it was agreed that the SCHI will now pilot the system in Chikwawa with the District health staff and feedback for final changes to the toolkit before it is presented to the Technical Working Group at the Ministry of Health for adoption.