Health Systems

To overcome the numerous challenges preventing access to health care – including crisis-level shortages of health workers and clinics overcrowded with critically ill patients – we need intelligent and informed responses.

Through partnership, invention and innovation, Dignitas is strengthening health systems in Malawi and Northern Ontario. We’re working with health workers, researchers, policymakers, and communities to make health care more accessible, efficient, and effective. Our objective is to apply and share what we have learned so that as many people as possible can benefit.

We are training and mentoring health workers to effectively deliver health services to both adults and children for HIV, TB, diabetes and other diseases.This ultimately improving the health of the whole population and decreasing demands on the health system.  We are building the capacity of clinicians, nurses and community health workers to safely and effectively perform tasks that would normally be performed by physicians, thereby reducing bottlenecks in access to treatment and care. By working at a system-level, we are increasing the number of people who can access health care in their communities.

Thanks to support from the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), we have strengthened HIV services in 174 health centres in Malawi’s southeast region for more than 3.1 million people – a quarter of Malawi’s total population. By building the capacity of local health centres to treat HIV, Dignitas also strengthens the entire the health system. For example, we provide training and logistics support so that local clinics are able to collect, store, and transport blood samples for diagnosing numerous diseases. We are supporting the management of pharmacy and laboratory services and bringing diagnostics and treatment for other health priorities, such as TB and diabetes and cervical cancer. Finally, we are strengthening patient referral systems for improved diagnosis, treatment, and care within districts and between the district and zonal levels so that patients are referred to the appropriate facility based on their specific health needs. 

In Canada, we are working to improve diabetes care for First Nations populations in Northern Ontario by engaging community health workers. CHW programs have been extensively deployed across different cultures, locales, and communities to address a spectrum of health care needs and shortages of highly trained health care workers. A wide range of community health workers currently provide health care in Aboriginal communities, including community health representatives, diabetes prevention workers and addictions and mental health workers. We will specifically train and mentor this cadre in diabetes prevention, management and support using customized and culturally appropriate training tools. 

Scientific Publications


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