Malawi’s First National Community Health Strategy Provides Lessons For Other Nations

HuffPost: What can we learn from Malawi’s first National Community Health Strategy?
Jeffrey Walker, chair of New Profit and vice chair of the Office of the U.N. Secretary General’s Envoy for Health; Matthew Rameriz, management partner at Aspen Management Partnership for Health; Nikki Tyler, market access adviser for USAID’s Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact; Precious Phiri, national primary health care coordinator at the Malawi Federal Ministry of Health; and Reuben Ligowe of USAID/Malawi

“…[The Aspen Management Partnership for Health (AMP Health)] looks to address the root causes of sub-optimal health services at the community level by providing a menu of support to Ministries of Health to strengthen management and leadership capacity. … AMP Health’s model is already working — as evidenced through its support to the Malawi Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) in creating the country’s first-ever National Community Health Strategy (NCHS). … Key insights and lessons learned [from the development of the NCHS are] outlined below. Developing a strategy requires a strong focus and detailed planning up front … Include people across all levels during strategic development … Have a diverse core working team … Align — and co-create — with other national policies … Prioritize … Ensure there are early, achievable wins in the strategy … Clearly define community health and how it fits within the overall health sector … Set ambitious, but achievable, targets to support resource mobilization … Community health systems can be costed in many ways … Importance of flexible, quickly accessible funding…” (11/7).