My name is Catherine Mwalwanda, I am a medical doctor from Malawi. In medical school, learning in a healthcare system in Malawi, one of the poorest countries with very limited resources for health, I encountered several obvious inequalities in health access. Most rural hospitals lack even the basic medical care services, there are not enough doctors, and the high burden of disease like for example HIV prevalence. The burden of disease strains the already limited system and vulnerable populations are disadvantaged even more.
I was working as District Medical Officer for Phalombe, one of the rural districts in Malawi, with a total population of 440,000 and only three medical doctors. My main responsibility was ensuring availability of medical supplies and services in the district.
After my studies I would like to contribute towards achieving universal health coverage in my country by improving our health system that is limited by resources.
When Malawi registered its first case of COVID-19 in April, 2020, Phalombe district did not have a treatment centre or supplies for treating COVID-19 patients. As a District Medical Officer leading the Rapid Response Team, I improvised by using hostels of a local nursing college as both the treatment and quarantine centre.
Help reduce the inequalities and improve access to health care
My work made me more interested in exploring ways to help reduce the inequalities and improve access to health care by vulnerable populations. I would like to gain relevant skills to be part of health policy formulation, especially policy that addresses inequalities in access to health care. After my studies I would like to contribute towards achieving universal health coverage in my country by improving our health system that is limited by resources. I am grateful to the KIT Scholarship Fund for this opportunity.