Malawi Health Equity Network
Thoughts: Problems + Solutions
Arrived in Lilongwe on Tuesday and right away updated the logo for an MHEN workshop on Thursday. My main responsibility will be to build a web site for the organization. Not only does it need to be up and running by the end of the month, but we’ll need to fit in a couple of training sessions before I leave. And then there are smaller design tasks: letterhead here, color report there, a five hour turn-around on a newspaper ad. MHEN also needed a photographer to begin shooting and building a picture archive. Paul took me on a tour of several hospitals in the region. He described the interplay between public health and government, while I showed him some basic photography tricks so he can continue to document the work of MHEN.
Soon we’re off to Mzuzu, a small city in the north of the country. The meeting includes partners and potential partners who will help prepare MHEN for its scheduled parliamentary appearance in a few weeks’ time. A wide range of professionals attended: doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, human-rights activists, lawyers, and child advocates. Some attendees promise to travel to Lilongwe for the legislative date, ensuring “a full court press.”
Among the many topics for advocacy discussed were:
*Providing training for Traditional Birth Assistants and incentives to refer expectant mothers to hospitals.
*Providing training for Health Surveillance Assistants who serve as front-line health care workers in rural areas.
*The pressing need for more equipment like CD4 machines, essential in prescribing Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) for HIV patients.
Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN)
The vision of MHEN is that all people in Malawi will have access to equitable, quality, affordable, and responsive essential health care services. MHEN’s mission is to advocate and lobby for systems that promote the delivery of equitable and quality health care services by influencing policy and practice through research, monitoring, and evaluation.
Michael Edwards (Parsons MFA DT 2008) is a member of the Parsons Research Faculty, SMALlab, and the New Youth City Learning Network. He designs social networks and games in the educational and public interest.