The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office in Malawi is hosting a staff retreat in 2022

The team of 64 staff from the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office in Malawi (WCO) gathered in the riverside district of Mangochi from 10-15 August 2022 for a staff retreat. The main objective of the retreat was to review their performance since the beginning of the year with a focus on their recent responses to life-threatening emergencies such as floods, the COVID-19 pandemic, the poliomyelitis epidemic and the cholera epidemic which affected Malawi. .

During the retreat, staff were briefed on WHO’s transformation agenda. This is in line with the Thirteen General Program of Work (GPW 13), which sets out the organization’s five-year strategy, 2019-2025.

Speaking at the meeting, WHO Representative in Malawi, Dr Kimambo, Neema Rusibamayila, pointed out that: “The triple billion targets are used to measure WHO’s impact on people’s health. One billion more people should have access to universal health coverage, benefit from protection against health emergencies and enjoy better health and well-being. Malawi is ready to contribute”.

Dr Kimambo added that the WHO transformation agenda provides an opportunity for dialogue with the government, other UN agencies and all stakeholders.

“The transformation program is results driven, provides smart technical direction, responsive strategic operations in line with the health needs and priorities of the people of Malawi.” She explained WHO’s transformation vision to the staff. “We aim to optimize technical delivery, improve the quality of work and ensure better management of resources and better value for money in our interventions.”

Dr Nampewo Solome, Health Systems Coordinator, explained the importance of ensuring access to universal health care in Malawi: “We are working to improve access to quality essential health services regardless of gender, age or disability status, at all levels of the health care delivery system. We are committed to reducing the number of people suffering from financial difficulties, especially now that the country is facing several emergency situations.

Participants were also encouraged to enhance their personal skills and knowledge using WHO learning platforms. Staff were encouraged to use the WHO ilearn platform and to maximize the mentoring and coaching opportunities available at WHO.

The ombudsman also presented the various policies related to the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, harassment and abuse of authority. WHO staff have been reminded to be ambassadors to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse of authority, everywhere, always beyond the working environment.

The team engaged in an open and constructive exchange of ideas to improve the WHO country office. Moments of awareness have led to a better understanding of ways to improve the health system. The open-minded nature of the retreat resulted in both negative and positive reactions. Everyone calmly brought remedies to improve WHO teamwork, in a relaxed mode. The need for effective, responsive and respectful communication was highlighted.

Selamani Ngwira, Data Manager, Nsanje District, could not hide his joy after getting to know and bond with his colleagues and supervisors. “The staff retreat was very interesting. This brought us closer, ensuring teamwork, with our supervisors. I now personally know my leaders following this retreat. We connected and bonded beyond exchanging memos and deadlines over email and phone. This will strengthen our coordinated response, in the event of an emergency, while providing routine health services,” Selaman said.

To foster teamwork and consistency, the staff retreat was merged with fun, simulation and sports activities. Staff members were encouraged to maintain a work-life balance in order to be fully productive in a working environment. The retreat ended on the 15the September 2022 with all the staff empowered and energized to contribute their best to the achievement of the objectives of the Organization.

Distributed by APO Group for the WHO Regional Office for Africa.

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