Being the least developed country on Simavi’s Country Support list, with extreme poor health conditions, a low percentage of access to safe water and sanitation and a high hiv & aids prevalence among young people, provide enough reason for Simavi to be active in Malawi. Simavi’s programme in Malawi aims to work on preventive health at the community up to the district level, with programmes on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and Primary Health Care, with a special focus on SRHR (Sexual Reproductive Health Rights).
- Capital: Lilongwe
- Under-five mortality rate: 92 per 1,000
- Maternal mortality rate: 460 per 100,000
- Life expectancy (M/F): 55 / 55
- Adolescent fertility rate (girls aged 15-19 years): 177 per 1,000
- Proportion of population without access to improved drinking water-sources: 17%
- Proportion of population without access to improved sanitation: 49%
Source: World Health Statistics 2012, WHO
Simavi’s strategic focus for Malawi
Within the WASH programme Simavi will particularly focus on water facilities for low-income families in rural areas. Specific attention will be on the availability of water sources and the distance to the household, allowing women and children to spend less time on water collection. Simavi is concerned with the environmental sustainability and is encouraging methods that prevent degradation of the groundwater. Water points construction and rehabilitation is coordinated with the local and national authorities.
Hygiene education and sanitation issues are important aspects of water supply projects. Simavi will specifically target the use and construction of latrines and toilets in peri-urban and rural areas. Many of the hygiene activities are in schools, since schools are a high risk for infections, but also an important place for sharing knowledge that can lead to a change in behaviour.
With regard to the health sector, Simavi chooses to invest mostly in community initiatives, including health volunteers, health staff and community health committees. By strengthening these community structures the basic health care on a grass root level will be strengthened. Communities will be informed about their health rights, which leads to a demand for better access and quality of the health services to the district level. Special attention is paid to assess within the community the specific issues related to maternal mortality and to plan activities to improve the access to health care for pregnant women. Simavi focuses on an enabling environment for mainly (young) women to make informed choices about sexual and reproductive health, including family planning. Men will be actively involved in these projects, since in Malawian culture they are the decision makers in sexuality. Gender based violence is another focal area point of Simavi in Malawi.
From 2011, Simavi has began implementing the “Unite for Body Right Programme” of the Dutch Sexual and Reproductive Health and Right Alliance (SRHR) in Malawi which is expected to continue till 2015.