Online Program

Private health provider and facility mapping in Malawi

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Andrew Carmona, BA, International Health Division, Abt Associates, Bethesda, MD
As policymakers and donor organizations continue to focus on innovative ways to improve health quality and access across sub-Saharan Africa, the contributions of the private health sector are increasingly coming into focus. This paper presents results from a study carried out by the USAID-funded Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) in Malawi, in which all private health facilities and providers in the country were identified and surveyed. The objective of the study was to learn the size and geographic distribution of private health facilities, providers, and services; and identify obstacles to expanding private health businesses. Using facility and provider-level questionnaires, data was collected on various characteristics of private health facilities and providers. GPS coordinates were collected at each surveyed facility. Although 80-85% of Malawi's population is rural, 47% of facilities are found in rural settings. While eighty-eight percent of facilities offer at least one Maternal/Child Health service and 66% offer at least one HIV/AIDS service, there remains critical gaps in geographic coverage of services and products (only 25% of facilities stock ARVs, for instance), especially in the North of the country. Fifty-six percent of facilities cited a shortage of equipment and other medical supplies as the top barrier to expanding their businesses. By the end of the session, the participants will be able to: 1) Better understand the role of the private health sector in Malawi. 2) Identify key gaps in private health sector coverage and challenges to expanding that sector.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe the size and scope of the private health sector in Malawi. Identify the needs and gaps in health sector services in Malawi. Evaluate the effectiveness of GIS in mapping private health sector coverage.

Keyword(s): Geographic Information Systems, Public/Private Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have supported assessments and mapping studies focused on the private health sector in several countries in Africa as part of US government-funded health sector contracts. Among my interests have been use of innovative technologies, such as GIS systems and mobile technologies, to more efficiently and effectively assess, monitor, and evaluate international development health programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.