He’s Kept CDC Computers and Data Systems in Malawi Running for 19 Years


  • CDC Malawi office celebrates 20 years of service.
  • IT supervisor is the longest serving staff member at the CDC office in Malawi.

The team that keeps the computers running in the CDC Malawi office is small. Just two people. One of them, team lead Lucius Mwalwanda, has been keeping staff connected, in and out of the office, for nearly as long as the office has been opened.

Lucius Mwalwanda, team lead of the IT staff

Lucius Mwalwanda, team lead of the IT staff, has worked at the CDC office in Malawi for 19 years, almost as long as the office has been open. Photo by Lucius Mwalwanda/CDC.

As the CDC Malawi office celebrates 20 years of public health service, Mwalwanda is the staff member who has served there the longest.

“Almost 19 years – 18 years 11 months,” he said recently. You need a SIM card? No problem. How about a personal hotspot. He can make it happen. A new laptop? Fill out this form. He also helps set up data systems to connect health workers across the country working on CDC projects such as HIV prevention and control.

“Right from nascent stages of CDC in Malawi, I have participated in partner projects to improve quality of service delivery, collection of data for evidence-based decision making and program management,” he said.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Malawi’s unstable electricity made connecting to the internet tricky. It became more complicated when the pandemic forced offices around the world, including the CDC office in Malawi, to close in March 2020.

He worked to ensure each team member had all necessary computer components to use while working from home. For more than a year, the CDC staff has been working from home, although Mwalwanda and his IT co-worker take turns working in the office to troubleshoot connection issues.

“When staff had issues, his team’s consistent presence in office ensured all needs were addressed in a timely manner,” said Marjorie Williams, associate director of management and operations in the CDC Malawi office.  “This was very helpful as program staff was already dealing with a lot of delays in program activities due to COVID.  Knowing that IT issues were taken care of – or not even having to consider IT issues because they were taken care of — was a real win.”

Reflecting on his work at the CDC office in Malawi, Mwalwanda said during his career he served in various capacities to establish different health information systems and office automation projects. He was excited to be part of the team that helped the country migrate to mandatory and universal registration of births and deaths to strengthen civil registration and vital statistics systems.

The project was “complex, enormous and required a multisectoral approach,” he said. Partners included CDC, USAID, the National Registration Bureau, Ministry of Health, National Statistics Office, UNICEF, and other organizations.

Mwalwanda said he appreciates the work/life balance, sense of belonging, and friendships he has made working at CDC. He looks forward to seeing his colleagues when everyone returns to the office.

Lucius holds a drill while installing a server cabinet at a remote health facility in Malawi.

Lucius holds a drill while installing a server cabinet at a remote health facility in Malawi. Photo by Baobab Health Trust.