Public Health Institute of Malawi


Tel: +265 (0) 111 737 255

Community Health Sciences Unit, Private Bag 65


Austin T. Mnthambala - Director


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Institute Profile

The Malawi Government is showing increasing commitment in public health as it is expected that budget allocation for the disease prevention and control will continue to increase over the coming years. The Government, through the Ministry of health, has been building up a Health Services delivery system in the country to address the needs of treatment and care of patients. Health Services are delivered through the following levels:

  • Community level: There are Community Health Workers in place. These are called Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs). These act as a bridge between the Ministry of Health and the community. The HSAs conduct community based health education services, immunizations and mosquito net distribution and re-treatment, among other activities.
  • Health Centre level: There are health centres built in the communities and these are centres where patients are treated for minor illnesses. Uncomplicated obstetric cases (deliveries) are also done at this level. All complicated cases are referred from this level to the District hospital. The health workers at a health centre are medical assistants and nurses/midwives.
  • District Hospital and Central Hospital levels: These health facilities are manned by doctors, paramedics and nurses. Patients with complicated illness are referred from the Health centre to the District Hospital and to Central Hospitals if necessary. Central Hospitals are referral hospitals where specialists are found. There is a district hospital in every district and 4 referral hospitals in the whole country.

There are two main health service providers in Malawi and these are the Malawi Government and then the Christian Hospital Association of Malawi (CHAM). The government health facilities are responsible for about 60% of the health delivery while the CHAM accounts for about 35% of the health service delivery. Private individuals and organizations serve the remainder of the population. It is estimated that more than 75% of Malawians have access to health services but the proportion receiving adequate quality of such service is not known.