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E.1.Thinking together, planning together, addressing challenges together  

C M Osborne, C L Angood Umoyo Network, Save the children US

Objectives and Scope: Save the Children Umoyo Network has continually sought to work closely with the MoH and align NGO work with Government policies, guidelines and curricula for NGO service provision.  At the district level, it is essential for NGOs to get into the District Health Plan to receive free STI drugs/ condoms etc. The project and NGOs also have regular meetings with the DHOs or DHMTs as necessary in the districts to ensure coordination with district training plans and plans for the expansion of services. To help facilitate this process and improve collaboration between the NGOS and MoH at District level, SC Umoyo Network invited District Health Officers to the Partner NGOs ¼ Meeting held in Blantyre in February 2005.

Methodology: The meeting held with DHOs to coordinate expansion was part of SC Umoyo Network's Quarterly NGO Partners meeting. The DHOs from the districts in the Southern Region which the NGOs have service delivery sites in were invited to try and coordinate expansion of services and align the NGOs to the district health plans. The DHOS heard presentations from the NGOs in their district giving an overview of their work and highlighting how they work with the DHO. Group discussions were then held to answer open-ended questions on what worked helps and what hinders the work of DHOS and NGOs. These groups then fed back to a chaired, plenary session where lessons learned were shared

Results and Conclusions: The output of the meeting was a document detailing activities that help and things that hinder the working relationship between DHOs and NGOs.

Examples of things that help the relationship are mentioned below:

Have regular meetings to keep up to date with work plan and share reports

NGOs should participate in development of DIP in January

MOU document between DHO and NGO

NGOs should fit into district referral systems – needs to look at system

Overall, both parties recognised their role and responsibility in the improvement of collaboration:

MoH has a duty to monitor what the NGOs are doing because they are complimenting its efforts in health delivery

Greater impact of the NGOs programs if DHOs are involved from planning stage, implementation, monitoring and evaluation


Though the output of the activity was a document, the real result was in strengthened understanding and appreciation of each others role in service delivery. It was established by all present at the discussions that the MoH and NGOs are PARTNERS and not competitors. It is essential that this relationship is recognised if Malawi is to achieve the scale-up in service provision required to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  Therefore, more collaboration and inclusion of each other in the planning and implementation for HIV/AIDS programmes is necessary.

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