Malawi Unveils First Ever Community Health Ambassador

By Fostina Mkandawire

The Ministry of Health and Population on recently unveiled a Community Health Ambassador who will help in championing realization of quality primary healthcare at community level. 

During the launch of the community health ambassador in Lilongwe, Health Rights Activist, Maziko Matemba was unveiled as the ambassador.

Minister of Health and Population, Jappie Mhango said the ambassador will be reporting and recommending best practices to the Ministry of Health and population, and that he will be a link between the community and the Ministry of Health.

Mhango said the ambassador will also be a voice for the ministry to the donor community because he is someone who is credible due to his independence from the civil service.

“A majority of the population live in the rural areas therefore to enhance quality delivery of health services we need a person who has passion for health issues, a person who will go in the communities to take people’s grievances and bring them to us at the ministry,” he said. 

On his part, the newly unveiled ambassador, Maziko Matemba said he was humbled to be unveiled as the ambassador on a day when the world was commemorating Universal Coverage Day 2019.

He said he had a great understanding of what community health facilities demand because access to healthcare needs serious investments with good and smart approaches for impact. 

“I will champion the realization of primary healthcare initiatives at community level by engaging relevant stakeholders at that level as one way of ensuring the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” he said.

Matemba advocates for sustainable financing for community health both domestic and external, champion improved human resources, infrastructure, data collection and use as well as reporting for community health. 

He said he would be coordinating community health programs and initiatives including community based organizations. 

UNICEF Representative to Malawi, Rudolf Schwenk said the phenomenon of having a community health ambassador in the country is seemingly new but it is a stride in the right direction.

He said the appointment was an excellent opportunity to reflect on progress, priorities and challenges in strengthening health systems.

He said they will provide support and technical expertise to the ambassador, because they have a strong technical team at UNICEF that will assist him to achieve his overall goal of advocacy. 

Community Health Ambassadors are selected due to their achievements and passion for health issues. Matemba is not a new face in the health sector, he is the Executive Director of Health Rights Activists and he is an award winning Community and Primary Health Care Champion.