Uniting Disciplines for Public Health: Highlights from the 2023 MEHA Conference

The Sunbird Hotel Livingstonia Salima hosted the 2023 Malawi Environmental Health Association (MEHA) conference and Annual General Meeting from November 7th to 8th. A convergence of minds, the event brought together Environmental Health professionals from the Government, Private Sector, and Academia, all under the theme of “Uniting Disciplines to Protect Public Health.”

Distinguished Presence:

The ceremony was graced by the Minister of Health, Hon. Khumbidze Kandodo Chiponda, MP, who commended the Environmental Health profession for their frontline role in the battle against Cholera outbreak. In her impassioned speech, she urged professionals to maintain vigilance in anticipation of a looming cholera outbreak. The Minister stressed the need for the profession to amplify its voice, asserting, “Show the government and the world how important you are.”

Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) Involvement:

Prominent figures from the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) played a significant role in the conference. Associate Professor Christabel Yolanda Kambala and MEHA President, Associate Professor Save Kumwenda, represented MUBAS. Notably, MUBAS, through the Centre for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Appropriate Technology Development (WASHTED), contributed to the conference with a pavilion showcasing research outputs, equipment for environmental assessments, and innovative approaches to promote behaviour change.

Minister’s Commendation:

In her address, Minister Chaponda specifically commended MUBAS for its crucial role in training Environmental Health Professionals (EHPs). She acknowledged the university’s dedication to producing highly skilled individuals who contribute significantly to public health. Furthermore, she lauded WASHTED for its impactful research, emphasising its role in shaping evidence-based policies that guide the country’s health system.

Keynote Address:

Professor Kambala delivered a keynote address that resonated with the conference theme, calling for a unified approach that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. She emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts in responding to public health challenges, ranging from climate change to emerging diseases.

International Collaboration:

The conference drew international participation, including colleagues from the Zambian Institute of Environmental Health women’s chapter, led by Mr. Kennedy Nduna. His presentation challenged Environmental Health professionals to engage in entrepreneurship, covering the diverse pillars of their field. Mr Nduna demonstrated his commitment by pledging 500 buckets of chlorine to aid in the fight against the impending cholera outbreak.

Closing Remarks and Future Challenges:

In his closing remarks, Associate Professor Save Kumwenda commended the government for its support in public health matters. While acknowledging the establishment of the stand-alone Ministry of Water and Sanitation, he called for increased recruitment of Environmental Health Professionals, citing the substantial workload faced by the dedicated workers in the field.


The 2023 MEHA conference stands as a testament to the vital role Environmental Health professionals play in safeguarding public health. The unity of disciplines showcased during this event serves as a beacon for future collaborative efforts to address the complex challenges facing our communities.