Over the last decade, the world collectively responded to the AIDS crisis by mobilizing human and financial resources on an unprecedented scale. This global response saved millions of lives but created health care systems in sub-Saharan Africa that are vertically focused on the treatment of a single infectious disease and unable to adapt to the changing health needs of the population.
Dignitas International was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from Grand Challenges Canada to create an integrated model of health care in Malawi. By 2030, the World Health Organization predicts that chronic and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will be leading killers in sub-Saharan Africa. To address this looming epidemic, we must equip national health care systems to effectively respond.
Grand Challenges Canada has established a strong reputation for funding bold ideas with the potential for global impact. The focus of our initiative will be to pilot an integrated health care service model that leverages the systems and technologies successfully harnessed in the HIV response. We will train health care workers in Malawi to screen and treat NCDs like cervical cancer, hypertension and diabetes alongside HIV and other infectious diseases. If proven successful, the integrated model could be scaled nationally and replicated in other resource-limited settings.
According to Dr. Joep van Oosterhout, who serves as Dignitas’s Medical and Research Director and is leading the project, “Our idea will empower frontline health care providers to fully cater to patient needs during a single clinic appointment. We expect to create a patient-centered approach that could potentially transform Malawi’s health care system.”
To learn more about this important initiative, watch this YouTube clip: