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January 21, 2015 
Ministry of Health Launches Results of First Health Facility Census in Malawi

LILONGWE, Malawi–21 January, 2015. The majority of Malawian health facilities provide diagnosis and treatment for infectious diseases like HIV and malaria, but only half offer primary health care services such as child health, family planning, and antenatal care, according to the 2013-14 Malawi Service Provision Assessment (MSPA). The first census of all health care facilities in Malawi, the MSPA also reports that many facilities do not have electricity and essential equipment.

The Secretary for Health, Mr. Chris Kang'ombe, will officially release the 2013-14 Malawi Service Provision Assessment survey (MSPA) results. Conducted by the Ministry of Health in the Department of Planning and Policy Development, the MSPA assessed the availability, frequency, and quality of care at 977 health care facilities. While many results of the MSPA are positive, challenges remain for many Malawian health facilities.

Access to HIV testing services is vital in Malawi where 10.6% of women and men age 15-49 are HIV-positive, according to the 2010 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey (MDHS). The MSPA shows that eight in ten facilities offer HIV testing and counselling services. In addition, two-thirds of facilities offer HIV care and support services including antiretroviral treatment (ART) for people infected with the virus. Nearly all hospitals and health centres in Malawi provide ART.

Almost all Malawian health facilities offer malaria diagnosis and treatment services. Nine in 10 facilities offering malaria services have the first-line artemisin combination therapy (ACT) available the day of the survey. Among 677 observed sick children with malaria, two-thirds were properly prescribed ACT.

Despite these very positive results, the MSPA highlights critical challenges for the Malawian health care system. Many Malawian health facilities lack basic amenities necessary for good quality of care. Four in ten facilities do not have regular electricity and two-thirds do not have a client latrine. Many essential medications are available in less than half of facilities.

The 2013-14 Malawi Service Provision Assessment (MSPA) census collected data from 977 health facilities nationwide, including hospitals, health centres, dispensaries, clinics, and health posts. The MSPA was implemented by the Ministry of Health, Department of Planning and Policy Development with technical assistance from ICF International through The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) Program. Financial support provided for by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

For more information about the 2013-14 MSPA, contact the Ministry of Health spokesperson, Henry Chimbali through email chimbalih@yahoo.com.