Kwitanda Community Health Project

Since 2008, JBJ Foundation has been supporting the delivery of essential primary health services to the Kwitanda catchment area in Balaka in partnership with the Malawian government and local partners.

 

By leveraging insights sourced from the community, the work has effectively impacted health at the community level by increasing health worker capacity, implementing community-based prevention and treatment programs, and improving coordination between community health workers and health centers.

 

APPROACH

KCHP provides an opportunity to work directly with community members in developing and implementing interventions that target the needs of the local environment.

 

Community health workers are trained laypeople who can cost-effectively treat the most common preventable causes of death in young children and pregnant women. By leveraging their capabilities, the intervention focused specifically on: 

 

  • Increasing health worker capacity and facilitating greater access to and use of skilled care for pregnancy and birth

  • Improving infrastructure and community health practices, such as clean water and sanitation, which have direct impact on maternal and child health

  • Continuing support for community-based health services including village clinics and outreach antenatal care

The project started in partnership with VillageReach (until 2019) and is currently being implemented by the Malawi-based organization, MaiKhanda, to ensure local ownership and long-term sustainability. Through MaiKhanda, JBJ Foundation leverages ideas and innovation from within the community by gathering learnings and refining innovation methods before scaling ideas more broadly to other contexts in Malawi.

CHALLENGE

One out of five children in Malawi never reaches the age of five and a great number of the rural populations in Malawi live out of reach of essential healthcare.

While the reasons for death are often caused by diseases that are preventable – like malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea – significant shortages of health workers persist and constitute a key challenge particularly for the predominantly rural communities of Malawi.

RESULTS

The project delivers cost-effective results defined as ‘very good value for money in low-income countries’ by Disease Control Priorities, including:

 

  • $10 per person served

  • Estimated $7500 per death averted

  • 4500+ visits to village clinics yearly

  • 800+ babies safely delivered yearly

 

In addition, KCHP was among the original incubation sites for the national health hotline, Chipatala cha pa Foni ("Health center by phone").. The telephone line has since been handed off to the Ministry of Health and scaled nationally. This demonstrates the Kwitanda community serving as a testbed for innovation that can be scaled more broadly.

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We have worked with JBJ Foundation for nearly 15 years, and from the beginning, it was clear that JBJF was a different sort of funder. The level of intentionality, partnership, and long-term commitment they bring to projects really sets them apart.

 

Through the years, JBJF has always been willing to engage with us on any topic—whether on big picture questions around sustainability or specific approaches to increasing antenatal attendance at a specific clinic. Their commitment to the power of community, relationships, and data to create change is apparent in all of their work.

Emily Bancroft, President, VillageReach

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ABOUT THE PARTNERS

VillageReach is an organization that is on a mission to transform healthcare delivery to reach everyone. Given the barriers to delivering basic health services in low- and middle-income countries, especially in the most rural and remote communities, VillageReach works to improve capacity to effectively reach and serve the last mile. Sustainable and scalable solutions in the last mile-setting require an integrated approach with a focus on delivery, which is the cornerstone of VillageReach’s mission and work.

 

MaiKhanda is a Malawi-based non-profit organization that has been committed to decreasing maternal and newborn mortality since 2006. MaiKhanda’s mission is to save the lives of mothers and their babies by working with the Ministry of health and other partners, supporting their efforts to improve the quality of healthcare simultaneously in communities and health facilities.