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Supporting public health institute in Malawi

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has signed a new collaboration agreement with health authorities in Malawi. The agreement entails strengthening the National Institute of Public Health in Malawi to become an independent institution for evidence-based public health, emergency preparedness, disease surveillance and reduction of health inequalities in the country.

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Malawi has a population of approximately 16 million people and a total of 250 medical doctors. Norway with its 5 million inhabitants has about 32 000 Medical Doctors. Through support from NIPH and the International Organization of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), Malawi has established its own National Institute of Public Health (PHIM).

On March 18, a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between NIPH, IANPHI and the Ministry of Health in Malawi. In collaboration with PHIM, NIPH has conducted an assessment of the country's preparedness functions at local, regional and central levels. The evaluation includes health surveillance, laboratory capacity, healthcare, communications, cross-sectorial cooperation and coordination. These are basic functions all countries are obligated to have in place according to the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR 2005).

- Bacteria and viruses, like Ebola, know no boundaries. We must therefore cooperate internationally for mutual benefit, said Secretary for Health Mr Chris Kang' ombe during the ceremony for the signing of the agreement.

Long term cooperation

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NIPH will support PHIM through development and implementation of capacities to meet the requirements of the International Health Regulations.

- Our impression is that a number of systems are in place, but few or none are tested, and others have proved inadequate during ongoing crises like Ebola, cholera and flooding.  At present, this is devastating in areas in the south of Malawi, says Frode Forland, project manager in the Department of International Public Health at NIPH.

The Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Kikkan Haugen expressed in his speech that the Embassy wishes the collaboration between the Norwegian and the Malawian Institute of Public Health all success and that Norway will contribute with financial, human and academic support through NIPH.

 

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