Our partnership with VSO Malawi (Voluntary Service Overseas) is becoming more concrete as they are carrying on a comparative study using the xRapid-Malaria app. The purpose of this study is to assess the accuracy of the xRapid-Malaria diagnostic test in comparison to the traditional microscopy diagnostic. Three main parties are working alongside on this project: VSO Malawi, xRapid and medical institutions such as CHAM (Christian Health Association of Malawi) and the College of Medicine. By now, 23 lab technicians have been recruited by VSO Malawi to enable the accomplishment of the study and ultimately to fight malaria. We will communicate on the results by the end of April.
As a major charity, VSO Malawi is currently leading other projects in three main fields: Education, Health and Secure Livelihoods. For each field, the NGO is investing a lot of efforts to make Malawi a better place to live in.
VSO’s Education program is made of many projects but one main goal remains: making sure children can read and enumerate. 68 teachers have been taught how to use digital education technology (using iPads app). It resulted in improving learners’ global skills, increasing enrollment, assessing them in a better way and enhancing individual help. They also trained key players at the district level on budget management to help them register a visible impact on the education they provide.
VSO’s Health program comprises different projects which all aim to improve Malawians’ health practices, especially women’s and prisoners’. Aside from the comparative study with xRapid-Malaria, VSO Malawi has a major role in local prisons. The NGO is mainly active in four prisons in the country (prisons for women, youth and mixed ones). They are working to improve the prisoners’ nutrition and provide them with HIV tests and treatments. Furthermore, they chose to anticipate the prisoners’ release by training warders to conduct psychological sessions.
VSO’s Secure Livelihoods program directed most of its effort towards making communities resilient to climate change and improving communities’ economic status. They organised focus group discussions that involved several stakeholders in the organic coffee value chain (including the Government of Malawi as well as 98 farmers and other main stakeholders). Their goal is to improve market access for the poorest.
“As Malawians cut many trees for charcoal production purposes, we are trying to improve environmental awareness in local communities”
VSO seeks to have a strong impact on environment in Malawi. “As Malawians cut many trees for charcoal production purposes, we are trying to improve environmental awareness in local communities” said Anock Kapira, Head of Program at VSO Malawi. Simultaneously, they started a tree plantation program to replace trees that had been cut down.
Even if the country is politically and socially stable, VSO Malawi is redoubling its efforts to improve significantly the standards of living for local communities in the south-east African country. At xRapid, we are very proud to contribute to their Health Program by providing them with a way to prevent and eradicate malaria, and thus, save lives. We would like to thank Anock Kapira, from VSO Malawi, for his contribution to this article.