Accordia Global Health Foundation has laid the groundwork for a center of excellence that will transform the way global development approaches child wellness in Africa. The Institute for Child Wellness in Africa (TICWA) at the University of Malawi will bring together leaders in health, education, social welfare, agriculture, business, and technology within a single enterprise to improve children’s health and well-being in developing countries around the world. Drawing from local and international best practices and expertise, TICWA will test and demonstrate new, integrated approaches to ensuring child health and wellness, and build capacity in the region to take them to scale. TICWA will develop its high quality research and training programs around a single, simple mission: keep children well.
The demand for a child-focused center of excellence in Malawi is great. Nearly half the population is under the age of 14. Forty-six percent of Malawi’s children are malnourished. Less than half complete primary school. Fifty percent of adolescent girls are married before the age of 18. Life expectancy is just 59 years. TICWA will work to change these statistics.
By stimulating international collaboration and innovation TICWA will work with Malawians to create new, culturally appropriate ways to improve children’s chances of living long, productive, and happy lives. These innovations developed in Malawi will also provide a model for other countries throughout Africa, inspiring changes in policies and programs and enhancing child wellness across the continent.
Malawi is one of the most impoverished countries in Africa, home to a disproportionate share of the world’s children afflicted by preventable disease, orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and vulnerable to a number of threats to their health and wellbeing.
A combination of factors such as poverty, malnutrition, low literacy and education levels, and high fertility rates have resulted in high levels of mortality among young children for many decades, even when compared to other African countries. At the same time, Malawi has made substantial progress in reducing child mortality, having attained Millennium Development Goal 4 targets of reducing infant and child mortality by two thirds.
The same strong institutions, political will, and committed leaders that have led to these advancements are what make Malawi an ideal real-world setting for the Institute for Child Wellness in Africa to serve as an incubator for innovative new approaches to child wellness. Given Malawi’s national stability and relatively small size, TICWA’s novel interventions can be scaled-up throughout the country, demonstrating to the rest of the continent what is possible when the right investments are made in the comprehensive needs of the child.
Achieving child wellness in Malawi and the region requires new thinking that can best be generated by bringing together experts across sectors and disciplines from Africa and around the globe. Based within the University of Malawi, TICWA will provide an essential platform to develop innovative solutions to local issues, drawing on the best international science and lessons learned – to fundamentally improve children’s lives.
As an institution devoted to child wellness in Africa, TICWA will:
- Stimulate Research: Determine factors that affect child well-being, discover new treatments, and develop new methods of service delivery.
- Enhance Training: Build the human capital necessary to provide high-quality health, social, and educational services for children.
- Advance Advocacy: Use local research findings to inform and promote changes in national policies and programs that affect children’s health and wellbeing.
TICWA will create & validate new responses to the greatest barriers to the health and well-being of Africa’s children.