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.
Our activities in 2022 in Malawi
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2022.
In January, after tropical storm Ana hit Malawi, MSF worked with the health ministry to reopen health centres to provide care for people who had been affected. Shortly afterwards, the country experienced a widespread cholera outbreak. From March onwards, our teams set up cholera treatment units in Mangochi and Blantyre districts, where we treated patients with severe and moderate symptoms. We also trained local healthcare workers, conducted health promotion sessions and epidemiological surveillance activities, and supported the local authorities in running an oral cholera vaccination campaign.
The mortality rates of cervical cancer in Malawi are among the highest in the world. Our teams, in collaboration with the Malawian health authorities, implement a comprehensive approach to the disease, aiming to improve access to prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment. Our treatment activities are based at Queen Elizabeth Central hospital in Blantyre, and we have screening units integrated into health centres in several districts of the Southern region.
Activities cover all stages of the disease, from prevention of human papillomavirus infection with health promotion and vaccination to pre-cancerous and high-grade lesions, progression into invasive and metastatic cancer, and end-of-life care. As radiotherapy is not yet available in the country, we have started sending some patients to Nairobi.
In Chiradzulu district, we continued to offer a comprehensive package of care to children, teenagers and some adults living with HIV. This includes counselling, peer support, individual psychosocial support, and sexual and reproductive healthcare, in addition to antiretroviral treatment.
In 2022, we began supporting two community-based organisations that provide services for sex workers. Our teams supported with HIV testing, treatment and access to preventive measures for the disease.