Options Consultancy Services Limited, a UK based health consultancy group, has this Friday organised a day long forum dubbed Knowledge Café in Lilongwe for stakeholders to discuss practical approaches that would strengthen performance of the health sector in the country.
The firm, which has been working in Malawi since 2011, works with national governments and ministries of health, international development agencies and civil society organisations to implement effective health policies and programmes.
Speaking in an interview today, the firm’s assistant managing director Jimmy Innes, said the forum will bring together government officials, health planners and professionals, representatives from NGOs, donor community and the media to discuss how accountability in the health sector can be strengthened to ensure that all Malawians have access to quality health care.
“The Café, will among others, involve discussions, debates and question and answer sessions to provoke thought and explore solutions to the challenges facing quality health service delivery in Malawi”, he said.
According to Iness, Options operates three programmes in Malawi, namely the Results Based Financing for Maternal and Newborn Health (RBF4MNH), MamaYe Campaign and Malawi Health Sector Program (MHSP-TA).
“Results Based Financing for Maternal and Newborn Health (RBF4MNH) has been supporting 33 hospitals and health centers in Mchinji, Dedza, Ntcheu and Balaka districts to provide quality maternal health care by providing cash incentives to pregnant women to give birth in the facilities, and bonus payments for the facilities based on their performance.
“So far, the programme has managed to have more than 61,000 women have safe delivery in these facilities”, Iness added.
Besides government, Options as been working with the Parent and Child Health Initiative (PACHI), a parent NGO for the MamaYe! campaign which works in six countries to raise awareness and pushed for political commitment on maternal and newborn survival.
MamaYe Malawi Advocacy Coordinator Anthony Masamba said the forum promises to be an innovative and stimulating event that will help stakeholders think, discuss and come up with actions that will ensure that people in Malawi have access to quality health services.
“With support from Options, PACHI worked and continues to work with the Malawi Blood Transfusion Services (MBTS) and supported the initiation of community blood donation under the Give Blood to Save a Mama and Baby campaign. I am sure the forum will challenge stakeholders on this and many other issues affecting the delivery of health services in the country,” said Masamba.