Addressing healthy settings in Malawi
The Scotland Chikwawa Health Initiative (SCHI) is a collaborative group which was formed as a result of research conducted on childhood diseases prevention in Chikwawa District in Malawi. The group is led by the University of Strathclyde Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Dr Tracy Morse) in partnership with the University of Malawi (Polytechnic), Ministry of Health (Malawi) and the Chikwawa District Health Office. Primarily funded by the Scottish Government International Development Fund the SCHI has been operating in Chikwawa District since 2006 with a focus on community health development including maternal and reproductive health access and improvements.
The Scotland Chikwawa Health Initiative (SCHI) is implementing the ‘Healthy Settings’ approach in a rural district of Malawi. The project is developing model communities (n=18), and integrating these principles into the associated schools (n=3), markets (n=2) and health facility (n=1). This evidence base will be used to support and provide sustainable methods to increase the size of the project, whilst continuously taking into consideration methods to improve health and remove barriers to success so to achieve sustained and effective change in the community that can be replicated elsewhere.
‘Healthy Settings’ is an approach where health promotion is implemented through a setting for health such as a school, workplace, city or village. This multidisciplinary method aims to maximise disease prevention but recognises that health is not individualistic and cannot be improved on an individual level due to the diverse nature of health and its interaction with a multitude of factors. This approach identifies the need to invest into the social system in which people spend their daily lives, as well as taking into account the personal, organisational and political stakeholders who are all involved in improving the health of populations. ‘Healthy Settings’ projects spend time in the community educating individuals and empowering communities to take control of their local health issues and be involved in the decision making process to ensure equity in healthcare and information access.