The CRH awareness week kicked off to a great start. The first of a series of events lined up for this week was the Opening Day Ceremony. Indeed it was a delightful event. The event attracted quite an audience with representatives from the Ministry of Health, Blantyre District Health Office and representatives from organisations like Project Concern International, Dignitas International, Peace Corps, GENET, BLM, Blantyre Youth Voices, Blantyre Youth Organization and Jesus Outreach Church. The Guest of Honor: Mr Penjani Chunda (Acting Director for Health and Social Services) represented Blantyre District Health Officer. Other notable guests were Associate Professor Fanuel Lampiao (Dean of Postgraduate and Research), Dr Eric Umar (HOD,Health Systems and Policy), Dr Gladys Chapotera (Public Health) and Professor MfutsoBengo (Health Systems and Policy)The day started off with an opening prayer by Bishop Kumeta. Dr Effie Chipeta, operations manager for Centre for Reproductive Health, gave the first opening speech. She gave a brief history of CRH and highlighted some key features of the centre. She explained CRH’s involvement in teaching and training, advocacy, contribution to policy and its contribution to science through research.

Up next was the guest honor, Mr Chunda, who expressed his gratitude for the honor. He highlighted the relevance of adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights. In his speech, he stated how decisions at adolescence have life-lasting effects on the health and socio-wellbeing of the adolescents. He further stated how investments made on adolescents’ wellbeing will guide the future of the country as these youngsters represent the future pool of human resources. He was therefore glad that the CRH Awareness is an opportunity to address various factors affecting young boys and girls as the theme of the week is the “Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; Our future their future.

The guest of honor’s speech was then followed by exhibitions for the various research projects on-going at the CRH. Members of CRH presented the different studies and projects. The studies presented include the Every Preemie Study, Gender Equality and Reproductive Health Initiative (GERHI), the DREAMS Study, the Cryotherapy Study, The Abortion Study, Birth Defects Study. In addition to the current studies / projects, an exhibition on the various training programs offered by CRH was also given. This exhibition was of course not without some thought-provoking and intellectually burning questions from the audience. The exhibition was then concluded by a discussion between the audience and study investigators.

Lastly, Prof Willliam Stones made some closing remarks. He highlighted the importance of research in evidence generation and how this evidence feeds back to policy. He also talked about the postgraduate programs offered by the college and how these programs often attract students with vast experience from working for different ministries, agencies and organizations at both the national and district level. He further noted how these students often linked their course modules to their day to day work and how their dissertation topics were often inspired by the knowledge gaps in their work experiences.

A closing prayer was then made, and refreshments were served. Of course, this event could not have been a success if not for the masterminds behind it, Kate, Patani, Princess, Razack and Monica.