Applying institution: Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF)
Project Country: Malawi
The aim of this project was to ensure fast and appropriate treatment for children with severe illnesses such as meningitis, at Chilomoni Primary Health Centre, through increased and improved triage practice amongst healthcare workers. The project has been developed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The project is also being implemented in four other urban clinics and three rural clinics around Blantyre, Malawi.
The triage system at Chilomoni clinic has been implemented and adapted over a further 12-month period, from May 2013 - April 2014, following on from the successful pilot between December 2012 and May 2013. Chilomoni is one of the busiest primary clinics in urban Blantyre, with a catchment population of 80,940. There is a relatively high turnover rate of health workers in Malawian clinics and there have been particular problems in Chilomoni with engaging the clinicial officer in charge, but a high quality of triage has continued to be maintained, training new health workers when they start at the clinic. Mobile phones are an important tool, ensuring that health workers stick to protocol, acting as a prompt to identify severely ill children. Triage is quick on the phones, taking less than a minute to assess each child. On the few occasions when the phones did not work, the healthcare workers still continued to apply the skills they had learnt and triage children in the queue.