Malawi’s massive budget deficit has hit the health system hard. In addition, international donors have withheld budget support since 2014 due to corruption scandals.
In Nsanje district, we support the severely underfunded district management team in running a fully decentralised HIV and tuberculosis (TB) programme that includes infants newly diagnosed with HIV. We also support in providing care for patients with advanced HIV in the district hospital, and healthcare for truck drivers and sex workers.
We are also developing a comprehensive programme to screen, diagnose and treat cervical cancer, which accounts for 40 per cent of all cancers among women in Malawi and kills an estimated 2,314 a year.
MSF teams are currently responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Malawi.
Our activities in 2021 in Malawi
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2021.
In Chiradzulu district, in southern Malawi, MSF focuses on increasing early detection of HIV and improving care for people who need enhanced monitoring and specialist treatment, such as patients presenting with a high viral load or those suffering from mental health conditions, co-infections (including tuberculosis), or malnutrition. We also support the Ministry of Health by following up severely sick and advanced HIV patients during their stay at Boma hospital and post-discharge.
MSF continues to run dedicated Saturday ‘teen clubs’, which offer HIV screening, care, follow-up and psychological support for younger patients. Attendance at these clubs, which provide a safe, friendly space where teenagers can benefit from peer support, has been shown to enhance adherence to treatment and a patient’s overall wellbeing.
In Blantyre district, Malawi’s main economic hub, in close collaboration with the Malawian Ministry of Health, we have developed a comprehensive oncological programme to screen, diagnose and treat cervical cancer, which accounts for 40 per cent of all cancers among women in Malawi and kills over 2,000 of them each year. Our activities are based in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the district’s main city and include outpatient treatment for pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions, as well as surgery, chemotherapy and dedicated palliative home-based care for those in the advanced stages of the disease. The cervical cancer screening units are integrated in eight health centres in Blantyre and Chiradzulu districts, where a mobile screening unit is also working.
In 2021, MSF teams also supported the local health authorities’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic at Queen Elizabeth Hospital by providing additional staff, oxygen and medical supplies.