APM Launches Malawi Health Situation Room: Towards Universal Healthcare…A Manifesto Pledge

Mutharika and His Health Minister Atupele Muluzi captured at the event

By Lily Kampani

President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has said good health is a precondition for development hence the need to seek innovative ways of monitoring and evaluating the country’s health systems to meet people’s needs.

Mutharika was speaking Thursday in Lilongwe when he officially launched the Malawi Health Situation Room aimed at strengthening analysis and response within the health systems through the use of an innovative virtual platform.

The monitoring system will mainly focus on three key areas of HIV and sexual reproductive health, community health and drug, and commodity supply chain in every district.

Mutharika described the initiative as a data revolution that will improve healthcare delivery in Malawi.

“Good health is a precondition for development because only healthy people have the capacity to contribute to the development of a country,” he said.

The President added that he will continue to use public resources to improve quality of life by achieving better healthcare for every Malawian in the next five years.

“Together we can take Malawi from poverty to prosperity by ensuring that we are on track to achieve the sustainable development goals, leaving no one behind.

“We need to be a healthy people to drive this nation forward. And we need to be innovative in our methods in order to sustain our achievements. We have to do things unusual,” he said.

Mutharika said the Health Situation Room is one innovation for improving the healthcare delivery system.

“This will improve decision making in healthcare delivery. We are embracing innovative technology in healthcare as Malawi moves into the digital generation,” he said.

Executive Director for UNAIDS, Dr Michael Sidibe said the Heath Situation Room will be crucial in identifying gaps in health programmes.

“This platform will help to fight inequities, improve redistribution of opportunities for everyone as it will foster accountability and embrace transparency,” Sidibe said.

Minister of Health and Population Atupele Muluzi said his ministry is committed to improving health services.

“We continue to seek innovative ways to monitor and evaluate our health systems to meet the needs of our people,” Muluzi said.

The Malawi Health Situation Room is funded by several development partners including UNAIDS, Germany Government, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Mana

Below is the full Speech by Professor Peter Arthur Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi at the Launch of the Malawi Health Situation Room, 11th April 2019

Good health is a precondition for development because only a healthy people can develop a country. Only a healthy people can fight poverty. That is why our goal is to make Malawi a healthy nation.

Malawi is on the path of leading global trends. We are determined to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages” and at all cost.

Nothing will stop us from fighting to achieve this goal. No cost, no human ill-will and no danger will stop us from making Malawi a healthy nation.

The DPP Government believes that health is not a privilege. Good health is a right. This is the belief that drives our healthcare program. This is the spirit that drives our political manifesto. In the next five years, we pledge to achieve universal healthcare for all Malawians.

Every Malawian must have access to good healthcare everywhere.

We will fight to achieve better healthcare that is closer to the people in every part of the country.  We plan to construct more clinics, more health centres and more hospitals. We plan to train and recruit more health workers. And we plan to equip our healthcare facilities from better to best more than ever before.

Above all, we will continue supporting and promoting health providers who serve where there are no government facilities. This is one more method for achieving universal healthcare. We have tried and trusted our methods before.

When we came to lead this country in 2014, we found CHAM health facilities serving just about 200,000 (two hundred thousand) people across the country. This is all they could afford. And yet, most of these facilities have been in this country since colonial times.

Now they serve over 3,000,000 (three million people) because we supported and promoted them. This is how fast we have moved towards universal healthcare coverage in the past five years.

But there is no point in going to hospitals where there are no drugs. There is no human dignity in dying in a hospital where there are no essential drugs in that hospital. That is why we have fought to improve availability of drugs in our hospitals.

Foreign dignitaries captured at the launch

In 2014, we found drug availability in our hospitals at 30 per cent. Now we have improved drug availability in our hospitals to 73 per cent.

In five more years, at the speed we are going, expect more millions and millions of people accessing good healthcare in every community, every village, every town, every city, everywhere. We will leave no one behind. We need every Malawian to be a healthy citizen. And together, we are taking Malawi forward. Together, we are taking Malawi from poverty to prosperity.

Every Malawian must be proud that we have made on the global stage unprecedented progress in healthcare. Malawi is now one of the best leading countries in healthcare progress. This is a cause for national pride.

In the last five years, the number of people with HIV has continued to decline very significantly. Maternal deaths have drastically decreased. And our life expectancy has risen from 37 years to 63 years in the recent past.

This progress has been possible because we are using public resources to invest in improving the quality of life. Possible because of the doctors who never sleep, the nurses who are always on our bedside and health surveillance workers who visit every home in our villages to check on our health. I want to thank you all the health workers for the wonderful work you do in this country.

A group photo after the launch

Let us learn to be proud of our achievements as a nation.

We are a Government that found no money. Today, we have improved the economy. We can buy medicine for the people. We can fund Elections with our own resources.

We are opening childcare centres with our resources in pre-school education. This is what we call sukulu za mmera mpoyamba because we are building a solid foundation for this nation.

We are putting money where it matters most. We are using public resources to change lives and improve the quality of life.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We need to be a healthy people to drive this nation forward. And we need to be innovative in our methods in order to sustain our achievements. We have to do things unusual.

The Health Situation Room that we launch today is one innovation for improving the healthcare delivery system. This will improve decision making in healthcare delivery.

We are embracing innovative technology in healthcare as Malawi moves into the digital generation.

Finally, let me thank all partners, donors and individuals who have provided support to this initiative.

At this point, let me declare the Health Situation Room officially launched.

But in a special way, I would like to thank our doctors, our clinical officers, our nurses, and our health surveillance assistants  for the work you do to keep Malawi a healthy nation.

You are the healers who heal the pains of the nation.

You are the comfort who bring us a smile when we are in pain.

You are the candles burning with resilience in our darkest hour.

May God bless you all!

May God bless Malawi.

Thank You!

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