Community, Donations, Fundraising, Healthcare, Malawi

Donation of Maternity Items to Ruarwe Clinic

At the start of this year, Ruarwe Clinic received a wonderful donation of maternity medical items. Donated by Anneke and Hartmut Jagau and Phunzira, the clinic received Maternity Pads, Sterile Cord Clamps, plastic Fetoscopes and Vaginal Speculums as well as Urinalysis Sticks.

Given the remote location of Ruarwe, pregnant mothers are encouraged to go to either the larger clinic in Usisya, Nkhata Bay District Hospital or Mzuzu Central Hospital to deliver. This journey and the stay away from the village, and their families as they are waiting to deliver, can be prohibitively expensive for many expectant mothers. As a result of which, many mothers remain in Ruarwe to deliver. The District Health Team is building a new and improved clinic building in Ruarwe, which will have the space, drugs and equipment to facilitate safer deliveries in the village. The wonderful Community Midwife Technician Helen Msisya from the Ruarwe Zone has been trained and assigned to Ruarwe Health Centre for this purpose. While community members await the completion and opening of this new facility, the staff at the clinic requested these items to facilitate safer deliveries already happening in the village. A huge thank you to the Jagau family and Phunzira donors for making this delivery of essential equipment possible!

Donations, Fundraising, Healthcare, Malawi

Donation of Medical Supplies to Ruarwe and Khondowe Clinics

This month has seen the donation of some vitally important drugs and equipment to the Clinic in Ruarwe, and shared with Khondowe. Following a number of months of national drug shortages, Ruarwe Clinic was running critically low of, among other things, Paracetamol and certain antibiotics. The situation had become so acute that the Medical Assistant Paul Kabuzi was having to make impossible decisions in giving paracetamol only to children under a year of age, despite the very high risk of febrile convulsions (seizures) in children with high temperatures up to the age of 5 years.

Repeat visitors to the lodge from Zomba heard of this plight and instigated a fundraiser in their home country, Holland. With the funds raised, they were able to buy a plentiful supply of Paracetamol, Clindamycin, Ciprofloxacin and Quinine tablets (which are essential in the treatment of malaria in the first trimester of pregnancy). The drugs were purchased in Zomba and shipped up to Ruarwe where they were very gratefully received.

In addition to these drugs, the clinic also received a supply of gauze, dressings and bandages to bulk up those already held by the clinic. Treatment of wounds is the fourth most common reason for patients’ attendance at the clinic so these supplies will soon be used for the treatment of these. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who donated and to Annelies and Jeroen of Zomba who arranged the fundraising, purchase and donation of the drugs and Hartmut and Anneke of Ruarwe who arranged for the donation of the wound care supplies – both of these will really make a huge difference to the community of Ruarwe and all those attending the clinic for treatment.

Healthcare, Malawi, Testimonial, Volunteers

Volunteer Testimonial – Ana Estevao

Ruarwe Health Centre was very lucky to host volunteer Ana Estevao for 6 weeks in September and October. Ana is a qualified nurse from Portugal who has been recently working in the NHS in the UK. Ana said of her time in Ruarwe;

“halfway through this adventure, it is amazing to see how with so little resources, staff and equipment, everyone that goes there gets the best treatment possible. Also the effort to make a better and healthier community each day is remarkable. Malawi is one of the countries most affected by malaria, so most of our patients are tested and treated for that but also we get a few emergencies. I’ve been able to see a few deep injuries and treat them, as also I’m improving my paediatric skills by looking after sick babies and providing them treatment.

As for myself, I’m more than grateful for being here and to be part of this community, even for so little time.”

Both staff, community members and volunteers really benefit from the volunteers’ time in Ruarwe – for moral support in the clinic, for information sharing and learning, and because volunteers are always really made to feel so welcome by the community.

Medicine and nursing in Ruarwe is very different from in big teaching hospitals in the West and so we find that to volunteers coming with a sense of openness and adventure really do get so much out of being here. Ana, thank you so much for your wonderful contribution of time and expertise to the community! Yewo Chomene!

Donations, Healthcare, Malawi, Volunteers

Donation of supplies for the Ruarwe Health Centre

The Ruarwe health centre has received a wonderful donation of much needed medical supplies. Volunteers Kartik, Leo and Aurelien have brought with them a box of fifty pregnancy tests and a new battery operated sphygmomanometer (blood pressure meter). These will help with vital diagnostics and blood pressure management for the communities served by the clinic.

The realities of rural healthcare are that often even the most basic supplies are lacking and a government strapped for cash is not able to supply such items to rural health facilities. While it is important that Phunzira does not take over the role of the government in providing supplies for the clinic, it is a delight when one-off donations such as this can make a real difference on the ground in diagnostics and treatment. With such a large part of the population visiting the clinic being women of child-bearing age pregnancy tests are vital in quickly establishing whether a patient is expectant and therefore being able to provide antenatal care. We are also seeing a rapid increase in hypertension within the community, and so the sphygmomanometer will allow for easier management of this condition at hypertension assessments.

Thank you so much for the kind donation!

Medical Supplies Ruarwe

Community, Healthcare, Malawi, Volunteers

Student nurse joins Ruarwe Clinic team

Student nurse Emily has been with the team at Ruarwe Health Centre for 4 weeks undertaking her elective placement. Learning all about healthcare challenges in such rural communities, the different medical conditions encountered in Malawi and treatment with very limited drugs and resources.

Nursing electives are a great opportunity for students to really experience a completely different working environment and health system from the western systems they are training in. The staff at Ruarwe Clinic also absolutely revel in the opportunity to both share their knowledge and learn in return. This exchange of knowledge is absolutely key to any elective placement.

Student nurse Emily

Emily was a wonderful student, who really got stuck into Malawian life. it was a pleasure having you with us Emily, we really look forward to hosting you again soon!

Community, Donations, Healthcare, Malawi

Ambulance boat back on the water

The beautiful Ruarwe ambulance boat is happily living in the village again after its full maintenance and repainting made possible by our wonderful donors. We would like to extend a huge ‘thank you!’ on behalf of the community to Richard Gray for his very generous donation and repeat volunteer Leah Desmond for her very successful fundraising. These funds allowed a complete overhaul maintenance of the Ruarwe Ambulance Boat, completed by the boat builder Zero in Usisya. The maintenance was carried out between September and December 2017, and the repainting completed at the end of February 2018.
Since its maintenance it has carried critically ill patients to Usisya for life-saving treatment and it has been deployed in a large scale public health program to treat an outbreak of scabies in our catchment area lakeshore villages.

A huge thank you to the donors that have made this maintenance possible and kept this life-saving transport afloat.

Healthcare, Malawi, Volunteers

Student nurse electives continue in Ruarwe

The nursing student elective program in Ruarwe has continued with 4 student nurses from King’s College London. The nurses spent a month in Ruarwe working at Ruarwe Health Centre alongside the Malawian medical staff.

During their stay they assisted with the delivery of a baby, provided daily wound care and dressing changes to a patient who injured his knee, assisted in an emergency situation, and assisted Paul with the day-to-day jobs in the clinic such as; malaria testing, dispensing medication, dressing wounds, giving IM injections, anti- and pre-natal check-ups, family planning, healthcare education, and assisted with HIV testing and counselling.

Speaking of their time in Malawi: “We had an amazing time!! We found the work in the clinic really interesting and so different from UK healthcare, it was great to experience nursing in a clinic that has few resources and little equipment, and how resourceful the staff are. It was also really interesting as adult nurses to get some experience with children and pregnant women, which the UK doesn’t offer. Paul was a fantastic teacher and so knowledgeable, he made sure we all got good hands-on experience.”

We are so glad that they enjoyed their stay and we look forward to continuing to work with student nurses on their elective placements!

Fundraising, Healthcare, Malawi

Haemoglobin meter and mini solar panel donation to the clinic

We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to returning volunteer Hayley Crow who has arranged a large fundraiser in her native Australia to buy and bring out a battery and mains powered haemoglobin meter and solar panel with rechargeable batteries for the clinic. The device is the same as is currently used in other government clinics across Malawi and so the consumables will be supplied by the district health team meaning that this is a wonderful, sustainable gift! The haemoglobin meter has already been put to good use at the clinic for anaemia screening in severe malaria cases, aiding referrals for transfusion where necessary.

Hayley accompanied the equipment out to Ruarwe and assisted at the clinic for 5 weeks and offering any top-up training needed by the staff. Thank you to Hayley and her family for organising these wonderful gifts and to all the donors whose generosity has allowed this to happen. Yewo Chomene!!

Community, Education, Healthcare, Volunteers

Volunteer nurses provide informal contraceptive health education

Teenage pregnancy is a very real problem across rural Malawi, resulting in girls dropping out from secondary education and, while re-admission policies do exist, it is unclear how well they are followed. In order to tackle this problem, two volunteer nurses conducted an informal contraceptive health education talk for both male and female school students in Khondowe. They provided extensive information about contraceptive services available at both the Khondowe and Ruarwe Health Centres and answered the students’ questions about contraception.

While sex education (including contraception) is on the school syllabus, this is sadly often overlooked due to both staffing and social pressures, amongst other issues.  Alice Worsley and Hannah Ward were able to start tackling this lack of education along with John Chilinde, project co-ordinator and youth leader at NYM. Thank you!

 

Healthcare, Malawi, Volunteers

Elective nurses at Ruarwe Health Centre

We are delighted to have been able to host two more student nurses from the UK on their elective placement in Ruarwe. Isabel Billowes and Sarah Ball spent a month at the Ruarwe Health Centre.

They gained experience in common conditions such as Malaria and Pneumonia, and led the recovery of a burns patient under supervision. They also had the opportunity to see the clinic at Khondowe, and undertook some public health education.

We would also like to thank Izzy and Sarah for their very generous donations of footballs, netballs and chalk as well as other items for the Youth Club at NYM. Yewo Chomene and we look forward to seeing you in Ruarwe again soon!