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College of Medicine introduces health social innovations

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As women continue to experience problems in accessing quality health care in the country, University of Malawi’s College of Medicine (CoM) under Malaria Alert Centre has introduced a Social Innovation in Health Initiative aimed at sourcing local ideas that would improve health service delivery.

According to latest findings by the World Health Organisation (WHO), seven out of every 10 women are failing to access quality healthcare systems in the country.

Other findings also indicate that per eight children, one die of preventable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

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In line with the findings, the initiative will target innovations that addresses maternal and child health problems in the country.

Malaria Alert Centre Deputy Director Dr Atupele Kapito-Tembo said the global health community, including the WHO, is currently making efforts to advocate locally available and people-centred solutions to existing health problems in communities.

Kapito-Tembo said the solutions are effective and affordable as they are generated locally.

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She cited solutions such as the use of bicycle ambulances which is mostly used in the hard-to-reach areas as improving health service delivery.

“It is a known fact that it’s really the ordinary Malawian or anywhere in the world that better understand the problems they face when accessing health care. And because of this, the ordinary people themselves are, therefore, in good position to develop better and more feasible, affordable and effective solutions that address their healthcare problems,” she said.

Kapito-Tembo also extended a call to innovators to share knowledge with the college on how to improve access to quality health services in the country.

Innovators whose solutions will be deemed to be effective will stand a chance of gaining a global recognition and receive technical support to further develop their solutions among other benefits.

“The solutions shall be documented as a case study and will be published

Dr Owen Chikhwaza, Deputy Director in the Directorate of Reproductive Health under the Ministry of Health, said: “The Ministry of Health is greatly excited and is interested in locally developed and people-centred solutions. Our role in this initiative is to provide technical expertise.”

A prize of $1,500 will also be awarded to innovators whose solutions will be deemed to be effective.

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