Health Policy Plus in Malawi Celebrates Achievements with Presentations, Testimonials, and Kudos as Closing Approaches
The Health Policy Plus (HP+) project in Malawi, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), celebrated almost seven years of accomplishments with an in-person event in Lilongwe, streamed live, and showcasing three major pillars of achievement in improved policy implementation and monitoring, health governance and sustainable health systems, and multisectoral engagement to improve the lives and health of Malawians.
Underpinning all of the project’s work was a purposeful collaborative approach with the Malawian government. As Gerald Manthalo, deputy director of planning for the Ministry of Health, said: “The project was implemented government’s way. Supporting us to support ourselves was running throughout, and now we have strengthened ability to raise resources, better governance across all levels, and a holistic approach to health development.”
“HP+ solidified a strong working relationship in various components…strengthening systems, structures, capacity building, policy design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. That’s a big achievement.”
Bestone Chisamile, principal secretary/administration, Malawi MOH
In attendance were more than 100 people, including the deputy speaker of Parliament and the chair of the Parliamentary Health Committee, development partners, faith leaders, youth, the media, and health ministry representatives from the planning unit, the Reproductive Health Directorate, the Family Health and Health Systems Strengthening Division, HP+ project headquarters, and USAID. An additional 100 people followed the meeting online.
The event was celebratory even as the project marked its upcoming close—or, as the master of ceremonies noted: “A sad day. A happy day.” HP+ Malawi chose to highlight its results with three presentations—each including visually rich and varied testimonial videos of success in youth empowerment, expansion of access to HIV testing and treatment, and development of more robust data systems, among other results. Each presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session among attendees.
“I needed someone who was hands-on, who could coordinate with partners, and provide a comprehensive system that avoided duplication and filled gaps. He [seconded technical advisor] has been so critical. This support from HP+ has already started bearing fruits.”
Simeon Yosefe, digital health coordinator, Malawi MOH
Country director for HP+ Malawi, Olive Mtema, welcomed guests and provided headlines of the project’s work, noting that it was the second-largest country program within the global HP+ project. Suneeta Sharma, project director of HP+ who attended from Washington, DC, noted that the project across the globe has featured 1,700 partners in 40 countries, with 2,000 results indicative of its “evidence-to-action” approach.
Comments from the attendees—including those who were partners in implementing the HP+ project and those who funded it or benefitted from it—emphasized that it has been a journey. Several stressed that so many additional achievements were made that could not be contained in the four hours of celebration, and emphasized to government, USAID, and all in the room that the momentum needed to be maintained.
As Bestone Chisamile, the principal secretary for administration at the MOH, said: “We are grateful. Please clap hands for HP+ and USAID.”