Saving lives and improving health for women and children in Malawi
While rich in culture and natural beauty, Malawi is one of the poorest nations in the world. With high rates of infant mortality and HIV/AIDS, as well as numerous other health issues, its people face low life expectancies. Through research, training, and technical assistance, PATH is helping to improve health for Malawi’s women and children.
Since 2010, PATH has focused on several of Malawi’s most urgent health challenges, including HIV, malaria, cervical cancer, and diarrheal disease. Our programs have supported sustainable, community-based programs that integrate the issues of HIV/AIDS, food and nutrition security, and income generation. With the introduction of rotavirus vaccines, we helped reduce the incidence of the most fatal form of diarrhea in children. Our studies on safe water access also led to a greater understanding of how to reach mothers with a means to protect their families from waterborne diseases.
Our work in Malawi
Malaria: MalariaCare, a multiyear project led by PATH, works throughout Malawi. The project supports the Ministry of Health, the National Malaria Control Program, and other partners to improve the quality of malaria diagnosis, strengthen the ability of health workers to provide correct treatment based on diagnostic tests, and enhance electronic data collection and use for decision-making.
Maternal and child health: PATH and our partners are supporting breastfeeding practices that can help vulnerable infants survive and thrive. Our efforts range from supporting national policy, to training hospital staff, to preparing hospitals to earn “Baby Friendly” certification. We also promote the vital mother-to-child, skin-to-skin contact known as kangaroo mother care.
Cervical cancer: Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes most cervical cancers, with an estimated 85 percent of deaths from the disease occurring in low-resource settings. In Malawi, PATH supported the Ministry of Health with an HPV vaccine demonstration project. We are now supporting the government to include the vaccine in its national cervical cancer prevention strategy and apply for funding from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for national rollout.
HIV/AIDS: Malawi has hosted several PATH studies related to HIV. Early usability studies have provided valuable information to guide the development of an HIV self-test. Similarly, Malawi is one of several locations offering promising results from the clinical trial of two candidate microbicides—topical products designed to reduce the risk of HIV.
Photo: PATH/Doune Porter.
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