U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer joined Malawian Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi and German Ambassador to Malawi Jürgen Borsch to officially open the Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF) – “Health Center by Phone” – service on Thursday, February 1, 2018. The CCPF is an innovative public/private initiative that enables Malawian citizens to call a hotline and receive in-depth medical advice from health professionals for free. Telecommunications giant Air-tel is covering all call expenses and Johnson & Johnson, an American company, is among several other private sector contributors.
Currently operating in nine of Malawi’s 28 districts, the call center currently receives more than 2,000 calls a month from Malawians who need assistance regarding injuries, illness, and a broad range of sexual and reproductive health issues. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Organized Network of Services for Everyone (ONSE) implementer VillageReach, was instrumental in establishing the refurbished and updated office in Lilongwe, as well as updated call systems to expand the service. Resources from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) were used to train call center staff on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and to implement key M&E systems to analyze adolescent use of the service. USAID will continue to support the CCPF as they expand services throughout the country in 2018 and until Malawi’s Ministry of Health takes full control of the center in 2019. When the CCPF is fully realized, Malawi will be the first country in Africa to have a nationwide, 24/7 health center by phone.