Assessing Health Needs in Zomba District Malawi
I have just returned from 3 weeks in Malawi working with the Sparkle Malawi Foundation on their health needs assessment and strategy.
Sparkle provides pre-primary school education, meals and some clinic services to vulnerable families in villages around Zomba where the major health needs are malnutrition, peri-natal conditions and a range of infectious diseases including HIV.
Making the best use of the donated funds is an important goal so the needs assessment will help the Board of Trustees prioritise where to invest next such as expanding the current clinic building or developing an outreach service for villagers furthest from a formal health clinic. Malawi as a country struggles with funding and management of health care so non-government organisations are a critical part of delivering the Malawi goal of essential care for all.
It was great to see hand washing facilities and safeguarding training on site and meet with the clinic staff monitoring the growth of the children. Common ailments such as diarrhoea can quickly escalate so Sparkle has developed excellent links within the health district to enable speedy referrals into a clinic or hospital.
The children are starting to learn English which will hopefully give them a good start when they reach the Malawian educational level where all lessons are in English.
As always, there are things which could be improved such better farming practices, increased range of foods provided and more first aid training but the team on site are working super hard, learning loads and giving the children an amazing opportunity to grow and develop in a happy and well managed environment.