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Keywords:

  • health system strengthening;
  • maternal and child health;
  • health policies in Malawi

Abstract

The article aims to draw the attention of advocators and policy makers in Malawi to consider the context of Malawi as they adopt and implement the components of health system strengthening. It analyzes the context of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) policies in Malawi from 1964 to 2008 and identifies constraints encountered in implementing MCH policies. In addition the article draws conclusion from the study results and makes recommendations. The study found out that the contextual factors that influence MCH policies in Malawi were similar to the constraints encountered in implementing the policies in the health system. Therefore the paper recommends that health systems strengthening that will sustain improved health outcomes beyond achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) need to take into consideration the influencing factors of the context in which health systems operate. Ultimately, health system strengthening for achieving MDGs should be regarded as means for achieving sustained health outcomes not an end in itself.