Stefan Boy is part of the quality management team at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi (Photo: CIM)

Strengthening the health system in Malawi

Stefan Boy is responsible for improving the quality of care in Malawi. As an integrated expert, he is involved in setting up a quality management structure at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe.

Interview with Stefan Boy

The Government of Malawi is trying to improve the health system with great efforts and the help of international partners. This also includes strengthening health facilities with the aim of increasing the quality of service.

You are currently working as an integrated expert in a hospital in Malawi. What are your tasks there?

I am part of the quality management team of Kamuzu Central Hospital, together with my colleagues we try to build up our own department for quality management through organizational development. A functioning quality management structure results in an improvement in the quality of care. We also seek accreditation according to the standards of the Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). We have also succeeded in entering into a hospital partnership with the Rhein-Main University of Applied Sciences in Germany, especially with a focus on patient safety. We are now applying for further clinic partnerships.

Kamuzu Central Hospital is Stefan Boy's employer in the capital of Malawi (Photo: CIM)

Since 2020, the corona pandemic has had a major impact on our lives and work. Can you tell us what the situation is like in Malawi?

Malawi also had to contend with several corona 'waves'. These had a serious impact expecially on our hospital as a tertiary institution. In particular, the oxygen supply to the patients was very difficult to ensure. There were not enough oxygen concentrators or oxygen cylinders, let alone a central oxygen supply. This has led to many preventable deaths. Medical oxygen is produced in Blantyre, so every night tucks had to drive to Blantyre, where they had to fill up the cylinders and drive back to Lilongwe. Fortunately, we were able to convince the local health programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to procure a container-based oxygen production plant. I would also like to thank the entire GIZ team at the Malawi Country Office once again. Financed by GIZ, we were also able to procure protective equipment and important special oxygen masks, which have helped us a lot in the treatment of patients.

What influence has the Corona pandemic had on your work and changed your daily work?

Quality management is of course always and everywhere important. We learned something new with each Covid 'wave' and tried to do things better. Our focus was particularly on dealing with the pancemic. The weekly Covid Response team meetings were organised by the Quality Management Team. To this end, we have developed a new special patient documentation and trained employees in topics related to hygiene. What I am particularly pleased about is that it has also been possible to convince the hospital management to establish an independent quality management department. This now also includes hospital hygiene. A structure that did not yet exist here in Malawi. My colleagues are now exclusively exempt for quality management tasks. This is already bearing its first fruits.

The Quality Management Team was able to set new standards during the Covid pandemic (Photo: CIM)

What personal added value do you derive from your work as an integrated expert in Malawi? What is life like on site?

Malawi is a beautiful country with very friendly people. My wife and I love being here in Malawi. You can live well here if you can cope with not finding every consumer good around the corner and you often have to improvise a bit. However, Malawi also faces major challenges, especially in the health sector. However, I see that my close cooperation with my colleagues is brining progress, which is very fulfilling.

On behalf of

The Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) is jointly run by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Placement Services (ZAV) of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA). Together, they have been providing development and labour market policy expertise since 1980. CIM places experts from the EU and ETFA countries in developing countries and emerging economies. Our main commissioning party is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).