Capacity Development in Health Programme

What is the project about

 Dr. Amiel Caspillo (2nd from Left) is a United Nations Volunteer Dental Surgeon working at Mzuzu Central Hospital in northern Malawi. In the picture poses with his colleagues and understudies at the hospital. Photo: Dr. Amiel Caspillo, UNV

The Capacity Development in Health Programme was conceived to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Health to deliver quality health services to Malawians in line with the Essential Health Package (EHP).  The EHP is a list of conditions for which the Ministry of Health provides health services free of charge at the point of delivery to all Malawians. The programme particularly supports the Government to ensure that critical health professionals especially doctors are available in central and district hospitals across the country.

The delivery of quality health services is one of the main priority areas in the second Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II). However, high vacancy rates for doctors has always been a key challenges in providing the EHP.

Essentially, the programme is working towards increasing the number of doctors and other health personnel graduating from training colleges. It is also facilitating the placement of volunteer medical doctors in hospitals to ensure the availability of doctors and help develop the capacities of local medical personnel. Implementation of the programme started in 2004 through the Southern Africa Capacity Development Initiative with the deployment of the first 9 UNV Medical Specialists.  Under the same initiative, the CD in Health programme was developed, and expanded further in 2005 following funding under the Global Fund to fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFTAM). By June 2012, the programme had recruited at total of 75 UNV doctors.

Currently, $9,963,279 is due for investment into the programme from 2012 to 2016 following the positive results made by the previous initiative. The project is contributing to Output 4.2.1 of the UNDAF which is about strengthening public sector management Capacity for effective service delivery.

What have we accomplished so far

  • A maximum of 65 doctors have been recruited (currently at 44).
  • Reduction in doctor to patient ratio -- from 1:60,000 to 1:30,000
  • A 50% reduction in waiting time by patients on doctors
  • Reduction in patients referred to central hospitals following outreach programs
  • UNV are involved in mentoring of junior doctors in the four central hospitals including training of specialist doctors at the College of Medicine
  • Specialized clinics at Mzuzu Central Hospital and Nkhotakota District Hospital cardiovascular diseases.
  • Awareness raising of severe shortage of medical equipment led to some donations from either friends or home countries such as ventilators at QECH and physiotherapy equipment at KCH.
  • Recruitment of UNV doctors as “stop gap” has allowed the Ministry train its own doctors and increase its stock – largely general practitioners (GPs) and, in turn, resulting in reduction in recruitment of UNV doctors under this category.

Who Finances it?

Only financial contributions of at least $ 100,000.00 are indicated here.

Donor Name
Amount contributed per year


Delivery in previous fiscal year

Donor Name
Amount used
All sources
$22, 869, 398

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