Health Projects in Malawi
help2kids partner health clinic
|In Lifuwu village we work with the rural health center assigned to the area. The clinic has one medical assistant, Mr. Zakeyu who works with several nurses to address common illnesses such as malaria, respiratory infections, diarrhea, and minor injuries. Other staff include public health personnel, assistants, and a pharmacist. The clinic also provides HIV services, family planning, antenatal care, and obstetric care. Some of these services are available to the surrounding villages via the Outreach program.
In Malawi, the ratio of patients per doctor is 50,000 to 1. For dentists, the ratio is even higher at 450,000 to 1. Over 9 percent of the adult population (aged 15-49) is currently living with HIV/AIDS, which is the 9th highest prevalence rate in the world as of 2014. HIV is a problem in the village, and while it is widespread, it is stigmatized and not readily discussed. The health center provides HIV services such as counseling, testing, and antiretroviral therapy with the help of a building constructed in partnership with Konda ku Lifuwu and help2kids.
The Lifuwu Health Centre has huge potential, but is very under-resourced. Like many rural areas in Africa, local clinics lack the basic equipment and supplies in order to provide the patients with adequate care. We regularly supply soap and general cleaning supplies, but wound dressings, basic diagnostic materials, and medicines often run out and are not replaced for extended periods.
Our health projects in Malawi aim to improve children’s health from just before birth with our Maternity Feeding Program, all the way through childhood, through our support of the Outreach program.
The drama group helps sensitize the community about health promoting behaviors, HIV/AIDS prevention, and family planning, educating the community about how to live happy, healthy lives. Through our partnership with donors such as Konda ku Lifuwu, we were able to improve the health center’s facilities, making them better able to care for children and community members who are living with chronic diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
The Role of the Volunteer
Any kind of assistance and support for the health center is much appreciated. Medical professionals, as well as retired doctors, are especially welcome to volunteer their time and services. The knowledge transfer for both parties can be invaluable. If you have a particular specialty or experience in a certain type of medical/health field, we will find a placement in which you can be of best use within the clinic. Please be aware that if you are interested in volunteering as a doctor or a nurse you need to be registered with the Medical Council of Malawi for your placement, and this registration process often takes some time. Most volunteers are unable to obtain this credential, but are still able to make a substantial impact as advisors.
Volunteers without any medical background also have the opportunity to help with general assistance in the dispensary, administrative tasks, and especially with activities and events that promote awareness of certain health-issues. All volunteers also have the opportunity to travel to surrounding villages as part of the Outreach program where you can help the staff weigh babies, measure height, and record data.