The Parent and Child Health Initiative (PACHI) has embarked on an ambitious project aimed to address gaps in malaria fight and provision of primary healthcare in Neno district.
PACHI is a local non-governmental organization working to improve the delivery of maternal and neonatal healthcare services in Malawi.
The organization’s project officer, Russel Msiska, told Nyasa Times on Wednesday that they have secured financial support from United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) to identify and tackle the gaps that exist in the battle against the killer disease.
Msiska disclosed that one of the components of the project is to train religious leaders on malaria fight and provision of primary healthcare.
He said the project will be implemented in Traditional Authorities (T/As) Mlauli and Chekucheku in the district.
“PACHI is geared to step up malaria and Covid-19 fight and also to champion healthcare to pupils in schools. We have identified five schools in each of the two traditional authorities. We will train two patrons (faith leaders) per school who will be reaching out to peers with health-related messages,” said Msiska.
Msiska disclosed that through this project, they are equipping the clerics with the knowledge and skills to facilitate malaria discussions with their faithful.
He said the approach is not only key in achieving effective behaviour change communication in different communities, but also to ensure the sustainability of the programme by making it community-led and owned.
Bishop Killion Phiri of the Living Waters Church International pledged their selfless commitment and support to the project to ensure the district wins the battle against malaria and Covid-19.
Malaria continues to place a high burden on communities due to challenges reaching intervention target levels in many districts in Malawi, including Neno, and it is anticipated that faith leaders will play a critical role in community and national efforts to prevent the disease in their communities.