Peace Corps Malawi Celebrates 50 Years of Service
Friday, August 23rd was a historic day for Peace Corps Malawi as it celebrated 50 years of service in Malawi. At the celebration event which took place at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, Peace Corps also launched the Global Health service Partnership Program (GHSP).
President Joyce Banda who graced the celebrations hailed the 50 years of US Peace Corps Volunteers work in Malawi as a huge success. The President recounted how a Peace Corps volunteer teacher impacted her life way back when she was in secondary school. She said Peace Corps in Malawi has helped the country fight HIV and AIDS, improve health services and education standards.
On the launch of the GHSP, President Banda said this is a welcome initiative that will help improve health service training in Malawi.
US Peace Corps Global Director designate Carrie Hessler-Radelet said the GHSP program represents the first organized effort by the Peace Corps to send US healthcare professionals abroad with a focus on teaching and expanding clinical capacity. Seed Global Health Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vanessa Kerry, U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Jeanine Jackson, Peace Corps Africa Regional Director Dick Day, and Peace Corps Malawi Country Director Kevin Novotny also participated in the launch.
Malawi is one of three African countries, along with Tanzania and Uganda, chosen to participate in the Global Health Service Partnership Program. A total of 30 new Volunteers in this program were sworn into the Peace Corps at the White House in Washington on July 18. Of these, five American physicians have been assigned to teach at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine, four nurses at Kamuzu College of Nursing, and two nurses at Mzuzu University where they will share their knowledge and skills with colleagues and students.
The Global Health Service Partnership is a public-private collaboration of the Peace Corps, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the non-governmental Seed Global Health organization. The GHSP continues the Peace Corps’ long relationship with Malawians that began when the first 20 Peace Corps Volunteers arrived to teach in secondary schools. Today there are 141 Volunteers in Malawi working in education, environment/natural resource management, and health. During the past 50 years, tens of thousands Malawians, including some of the country’s most prominent leaders, have benefited by learning from and working with the thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers who have served here.
Overall, Peace Corps has achieved not only its first goal “To help the people of Malawi in meeting their need for trained men and women,” but also its second and third goals relating to promoting a better understanding between the people of Malawi and the people of the United States of America.
The U.S., which is Malawi’s largest bilateral partner, invests in the health sector with the goal of increasing access to quality health care to foster a healthier Malawian populace. In 2012 the U.S. invested over $185 million in HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal and child care, nutrition, clean water, sanitation, and the health system infrastructure in Malawi
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