Family Health Services (FHS) formerly PSI/Malawi is a local organization implementing programs aimed at improving lives of Malawians. FHS implements projects with multidisciplinary approach that draws on the tenets of public health, marketing, behavioral economics, and human centered design. Priority health areas for FHS include HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health and rights and malaria prevention. Currently, FHS is getting support from USAID, FCDO, KFW and Bill and Melinda Gates.
With more than 30 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Malawi faces numerous prevention challenges similar to those in other Sub-Saharan countries. An HIV prevalence of 8.9% points to very high incidence among most at-risk groups and, increasingly, to substantial levels of transmission in the general population. Nearly one million Malawians aged 15 years and older are living with HIV. FHS plays an important role in HIV prevention and treatment through various interventions including condom distribution, voluntary medical male circumcision and provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment.
FHS’s role is twofold within the total condom market in Malawi: 1) facilitating the government’s free condom and lubricants distribution supply chain management, as well as 2) distributing socially marketed male and female condoms. FHS promotes Chishango (male condom) brand targeting sexually active young males, and Care (female condoms) offering an alternative, female-initiated option in condom use. Since its introduction, over 250 million Chishango condoms have been sold and the brand continues to enjoy national wide coverage with 74% share of the paid market and 25% share of the total condom market in Malawi.
Since 2012, FHS provides voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services using both mobile service delivery and static sites. To date, the VMMC program has done xxxxx male circumcisions with support from USAID PEPFAR. FHS’s VMMC interventions are built on local capacity to deliver VMMC services and serve as a model to inform VMMC scale up in Malawi.
Malawi has made impressive gains in the fight against HIV, with the UNAIDS Spectrum estimating the country at 91-87-94 on 95-95-95 UNAIDS goals. However, as the absolute number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) on ART grows, the Malawi program will increasingly be challenged to retain the PLHIV’ s on treatment. To help address the ART adherence challenges in Malawi, FHS in collaboration with FHI360 and through the EpiC project is utilizing the private health sector to provide ART. The Epic DDD utilize the hub and spoke model that maps private clinics to public facilities, where stable ART clients at hub public health facilities are encouraged to access drug refills at an accredited DDD private clinic. DDD private clinics provide convenient access to ART refills and PrEP. The ultimate objective of the DDD model is to help decongest the hub public facilities and present convenient platforms to get ART drug refills and PrEP.
Awareness of HIV treatment’s benefits, especially its ability to prevent onward transmission of the virus is low in sub-Saharan Africa. Rather than being seen as the solution to HIV infection, ART is seen as a sign that one has HIV and is thus associated with HIV-related stigma. As a result, many PLHIV lack a strong motivation to start or stay on ART and adherence across the region is uneven. FHS, together with its key stakeholders, rolled out a treatment literacy campaign branded # ICAN and in local language # Nditha! The campaign aim to increase uptake and ongoing use of anti-retroviral treatment (ART) by focusing on the benefits of treatment from the patient’s perspective.
With support from KFW, FHS is working with Malawi Government, FPAM and ACT Alliance on the N’zatonse Project. The project is a multi-faceted intervention with the primary focus on increasing the use (access and demand) of family planning methods; equipping young people with knowledge and empowerment to take responsible choices on sexual and reproductive health issues (including HIV and STI prevention); as well as transforming societal attitudes and practices to be favorable for accessing services and rights. The project use rights-based and gender equality approaches to build the capacity and empowerment of women, girls, men and boys as well as local and national political, traditional, community and religious leaders. The ultimate vision of the project is to contribute to a stronger health care system and strengthen community empowerment in Malawi to better meet the needs of rural and poor populations.
FHS is implementing a five-year DFID funded Tsogolo Langa Sexual, Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services program in Malawi. The program is aimed at contributing to the government of Malawi’s FP2030 commitments with a special focus on women and youth. Tsogolo Langa program theory of change envisions four main outputs: (i) expand access, choice, and reach of quality integrated SRHR/FP services for young people and women, particularly in hard-to-reach areas (ii) foster the enabling environment for adolescents, including people with disabilities to access SRHR services (iii) empower youth with economic and life skills (iv) lead the development and sharing of evidence-based approaches for learning to improve the uptake of SRHR/FP services in Malawi .
FHS is a longtime partner in implementing the National Malaria Strategic Plan aiming at scaling up malaria interventions towards attainment of the national vision of a “Malaria-free Malawi”. For over t15 years, FHS has contributed directly to the fight against malaria through the distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LLINs). On behalf of the Government of Malawi’s malaria prevention program and with additional support from the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), FHS supported the routine distribution of LLINs for free to pregnant women and caregivers with children under 5 years old through public health facilities. FHS also socially markets Super Chitetezo nets to both urban and peri-urban areas.
With Malawi’s ailing economy and its high population growth, the public health sector has been over stretched and struggles to effectively meet health demand, ultimately leading to compromised and poor-quality health service delivery. To bridge this gap, FHS established the Tunza family health network to provide quality, equitable and affordable health care through the private sector. Launched in 2012, Tunza has grown into a network of 43 franchisees country wide. Tunza’s approach has greatly improved service delivery in private clinics.
Priority health areas for FHS include HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health and rights and malaria prevention. Currently, FHS is getting support from USAID, FCDO, KFW and Bill and Melinda Gates.Learn More
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