Updates from Malawi

Anne's African Adventures

AnnE pointing out the water tank

Three of our members, AnnE, Chris B and Chris R are currently in Malawi. Part of their work there is checking the progress of a Rotary Global Grant project. Further detail here.

African Adventures part 2. 11th April 2022
Having been here for over a week now, it has become obvious that Covid has greatly disturbed the running of the unit. They have had to change the ward from ENT to Covid patients and back again. Now they are back, the ensuing chaos is slowly resolving but the culture here is very accepting of everything so it is an uphill struggle to get things back in order, but we are trying, all the while encouraged by the warmth of the people around us

Today we got the Clinical ENT Officers whom we have trained and equipped with the aid of our club’s District Grants to leave their district clinics in the South of Malawi and visit us here in “the centre of excellence" in QECH in Blantyre. Report of that meeting is attached. Our plan is to travel to Lilongwe next week and see the CO’s near there, then on to Nkhata Bay to see the 3 northern CO’s, hopefully enjoying the 
lakeside route.

In Addition, the two Chris’ have been hard at work clinically. They are overseeing the introduction of all the equipment we brought with us and also getting things in theatre and on the ward organised again. Today, both theatres were running, Chris R doing a cochlear implanting one, Chris B operating on an extremely complicated parotid tumour in the other. Amazing when you realise there is no medically trained anaesthetist in the hospital!

The Rotary Global Grant-funded refurbishment of the private rooms and the introduction of a nurses rest room is coming along now and the builder is about to complete phase 1 of the project. if the plans work, we will have a bit of publicity this week.
I am at the same time working with the Rotary Club of Limbe on phase 2 - the furnishing of the rooms - hoping to have a grand opening when we have the whole UK visiting team here in November. This phase two is when we might start spending the money we have saved in our club accounts.

This week we have also, through Rotary, made some new acquaintances which is increasing our network of local help.

Before we set off, I was asked to look after ENT Malawi Facebook page whilst we are here and I am attempting to do this, posting on both that site and on our Rotary pages - please feel free to send me comments and suggestions, and of course to share the posts if you like them so we reach many more people.
 

African Adventures 7th April 2022
We have started our much Covid-postponed trip to Malawi and have, to our delight, found things much the same here in the ENT and Audiology Units at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre with many old friends still here. We have sadly lost one of our clinical officers to Covid leaving a toddler to be brought up by the extended family. 

Here is an account of our adventure so far. - of course some of you will know all about it already from Facebook  !After being caught up in BA's global IT failure, Chris and I eventually arrived in Cape Town to be met late in the night by our colleague Chris Prescot and his wife at the airport. 
Chris P is a retired ENT consultant in Cape Town, S Africa. He  and his wife, Ruth, are not Rotarians, but he should be as he is constantly striving to help people however they can and the need is great here. 
Chris P has been with us in Malawi every visit until now - this time the air fare is so expensive he can't afford it, but will join us in Harare at the end of the month to help run a temporal bone teaching course for our Zimbabwe colleagues. I shall miss him as he and I have the clinical officers' work as our primary focus. 
Friday 1st April I contacted past District Governor, Michael Johnson, MPHF with whom we worked on the educational books for a school in Zimbabwe in 2019 and who lives in Somerset West and were immediately invited over with our hosts (whom they didn't know) to their beautiful home with swimming pool - quite a contrast to the Prescots' home which is luxury by SA standards but is very basic by ours. And it turns out they have several common friends!

Saturday 2nd was a breakfast meeting with two top Cape Town ENT surgeons in the beautiful Kirstenbosch gardens. It turns out that one of them was brought up in a Rotary family so understood exactly what we are doing. Ruth has been trained as a guide so gave us an amazing tour of the gardens and too much information to retain!
We ended the day with a visit to the Waterfront and a lovely fish meal there. 
Sunday up at 4am to catch our flight to JoBerg and on to Blantyre. We met up with Chris Bem on the final leg of the journey. 
Torrential rain greeted us as we disembarked. 
Amazingly all our heavily laden suitcases, packed with medical equipment, had arrived with us and we managed to avoid them being randomly searched by both the immigration officials and the police by casually mentioning we were living and working at the hospital. 
So it was like arriving at our second home and family, despite such a long time (Nov 2019) since we were last here. 
I shall try and keep you up to date on the ENT Malawi Facebook page and share it with our own pages
"Sangalalani!"
AnnE

Since then, we have settled into our roles here as if we had never been away.
So very much to do as a lot of what we put in place has not continued in our absence and we have to start again.
However the global grant has progressed and the bedrooms and nurses rooms and entrance should be ready to re furnish yesterday, African time, which means possibly but not probably next week!
Meanwhile I have been to visit RC Limbe who send you their good wishes and am now working with them and with the hospital team to source the equipment we need locally.
We also are making plans to meet with all the clinical officers we have previously trained and equipped to review their work and any equipment repairs/replacements.
The two Chris’ are hard at work with difficult cases in the surgical theatre.
The equipment we shipped over has arrived intact and we are gradually deploying  that too.
When IT allows, will update you again.
Best wishes to everyone
AnnE, Chris R and Chris B

 

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