St John Malawi Working with Partners

We often talk about how the people of St John, rooted in their local communities, give continued devoted service on a global scale, and how proud we are of the impact we have in 44 countries and territories around the world.

  • But what does this really look like?
  • What does community-led service look and feel like in practice?

We spoke with Vincent Tholo, from St John Malawi, where they have been developing strategic partnerships in their local communities to strengthen the impact of their work.

Vincent, could you please tell us about the partners you’re currently working with?
In Blantyre, St John Malawi works with the Ministry of Health through the District Health Office for Mbayani and Ndirande Health Centres where the government officials schedule outreach clinics and send staff to the outreach clinics; St John Malawi send its volunteers to mobilise communities for the outreach clinics and support health personnel with meals and transport. This partnership has worked very well over the years and has seen great improvements in the outputs and outcomes of the programme.

St John Malawi

Recently, St John Malawi has engaged Global Aid Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) which is working on bedside nursing by providing training to health centre staff in Ndirande – Blantyre to which St John Malawi referred its clients for assistance. GAIA trains and mentors nurses to provide quality services to pregnant mothers in maternity and antenatal. St John Malawi partnered with GAIA for coordination on issues that hinder pregnant women from visiting the health facilities once pregnant or sick during pregnancy through the training and mentorship it offers to nurses and clinicians. This partnership is improving on allegations that nurses do not treat and welcome clients from the communities where St John Malawi works.

In Lilongwe, in addition to partnering with the Lilongwe District Health Office, St John Malawi is networking with Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) and Banja La Mtsogolo (‘Marrie Stoppe’ – BLM) who work in family planning. They take advantage of St John Malawi outreach clinics and offer family planning services to clients who attend clinics. The family planning services offered during the outreach clinics add value to the work of St John Malawi as St John Malawi does not offer the services especially when the government runs out of drugs.

Could you please tell us a little bit more about how the partners you work with support your community health programme? 
The community health programme in St John Malawi is delivering the expected outputs and outcomes through coordinated and collaborated efforts with its implementing partners. The partners support in delivering and improving the key performance indicators in the programme. As such St John Malawi has networked with several partners while implementing its programmes both in Blantyre and Lilongwe.

St John Malawi

The partners are in support of achieving the key performance indicators of St John Malawi. The District Health Offices provide training to St John Volunteers, conduct routine monitoring to assess the quality of work and provide essential health services during clinics while other non-governmental organizations like GAIA, FPAM and Marrie Stoppe enhance the work of St John Malawi through their work.

What are the benefits you’ve seen to your partnership work?

  • Partners support the work of St John Malawi thereby enhancing the realisation of intended deliverables which could have been a challenge to achieve. The networking and coordination have resolved issues from the community regarding the conduct of health workers in maternity and antenatal; and provision of essential services like family planning.  It is further expected to eliminate the attitudes of clients’ especially pregnant women to be motivated and attend ANC in the first trimester and deliver at the health facility.
  • The partnership has improved the complementarity of efforts and work activities. For instance, FPAM and Banja La Mtsogolo provide family planning essentials services during the outreach clinics being supported by St John Malawi, and this motivates the communities to attend the clinic and have access to drugs.
  • The partnership also helps to synergize efforts towards the good health of communities and motivate both staff and volunteers.
  • The partnership also serves as a cost-cut mechanism for all partners since resources are well directed among partners.

Have there been any challenges created by these partnerships?
St John Malawi has not experienced any challenge from the partnership in these two districts so far.

St John’s ongoing commitment to St John Malawi will continue to give families and many more a chance of a better and healthier life.