Embassy of the United States, Lilongwe, Malawi (lilongwe.usembassy.gov), February 2011
U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Lisa Vickers welcomed Global Health Corps (GHC) President & Co-founder Barbara Bush and past and present GHC fellows to the Public Affairs auditorium on January 26. Vickers praised the tremendous success of “this innovative public health training program for American and Malawian young professionals.” The ingenuity of GHC is the pairing of a host country national and a U.S. citizen to connect young leaders to health organizations working at the grassroots level (find out more at http://www.ghcorps.org). The event recognized two separate $25,000 PEPFAR grants to Dignitas International, which implements the GHC program locally.
The Ambassador’s Small Grants Fund for HIV, working through the U.S. Embassy’s PEPFAR team, initiated a partnership with GHC in 2009 to fund two fellows (one Malawian and one American) with co-funding from the Clinton Foundation. The second set of fellows, Emily Wang and Dina Chirunjira, are currently working with Dignitas in Zomba. They both spoke at the ceremony, describing the unique affiliation they have by working and living together as they learn from each other culturally and professionally.
GHC affords non-traditional health workers an opportunity to work in health related areas. Information technology and health management information systems are the program’s focus areas in Malawi. For example, Ms. Chirunjira and Ms. Wang use their software engineering expertise to monitor enrollment and referral systems for pediatric HIV testing and care.
The ceremony concluded with the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer and the Country Director for Dignitas International, Veronica Van Dam, signing a third grant through the Ambassador’s Small Grants Fund for HIV, to support future GHC fellows in 2011 to 2012.