The Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) says it is on course in its efforts to improve HIV services in church owned hospitals in Malawi under its HIV/Aids capacity building programme.
CHAM Executive Director Rose Ng’oma speaking in an exclusive interview on Thursday said the programme is and will make a difference in the delivery of HIV services in the CHAM hospitals that are benefiting from the programme.
The five- year Programme, bankrolled by the America’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), started in 2009 has supported the development of infrastructure and the provision of health related scholarships to Malawians. So far over $4 million has been given to CHAM.
“We have a sub-granting mechanism which allows CHAM Secretariat to provide grants to CHAM hospitals so that they improve their infrastructure and technical know-how. Through this arrangement we have managed to support 20 hospitals.
“One of our major hospitals, Mlambe, was given a grant to install improved laboratory systems. Mlambe is one of the big hospitals in Blantyre which provides service to not less than 50,000 people and it is also a referral hospital,” said Ng’oma.
Ng’oma said under the grant Mlambe Hospital purchased HIV test kits and CD4 Count machines, motor bikes and bicycles and computers to improve data management, diagnosis and community outreach programmes.
She said the positioning of the hospital will enable students from the Colleges of medicine, nursing and health sciences in Blantyre and Thyolo to easily use the new and modernised laboratory equipment in their training.
“We have also have used part of the grant to improve HIV Care Clinic at the hospital, initially it was small and had no privacy for clients. We now have a shelter for HTC and ART service delivery which has improved services there,” she said.
CHAM’s manager for the programme, Dyson Telela, said the programme has also seen 947 students getting full scholarships to train as medical assistants, lab technicians, clinical officers and nurse and midwife technicians.
16 of the lot are Tutors from the training colleges who are now upgrading their qualifications to Masters Degree at Kamuzu College of Nursing.
The training colleges have also received computers and books in addition to the scholarships as part of capacity building programme.
Some of the 20 hospitals benefiting under the programme include David Gordon Memorial, Mzambazi, Namasalima, Mulanje Mission, Montfort, Trinity, St Annes, Likuni, Mlale and Kaundu.
CHAM provides 40 percent of healthcare in Malawi and has MOU with government in which critical services such as HIV services are provided free of charge.
“We would like to thank the US government; their support came at a right time. A lot of people are benefiting, the HIV services have improved in the catchment areas of these CHAM hospitals,” said Ng’oma.