This is the first of our blogs from Malawi. Liz Treasure, Donald Todd and Tracy Humphrey arrived in Malawi on Sunday 30th November to continue the development of the Community Midwifery Assistant (CMA) role. We swapped the grey of the Aberdeen skyline to the blue skies of Malawi. Temperatures reaching 29 degrees with no sign of Christmas except for the artificial tree complete with flashing lights and wrapped presents in the hotel lobby.
Here we are at the end of our first day meeting with stakeholders from Government, professional bodies, education and practice. Following a productive day we are ready to discuss and develop plans for Continued Professional Development for the newly created CMA roles tomorrow. We are looking forward to working with our Malawian colleagues in this venture.
Two of the CMAs joined us for the day to give a flavour of what their role looks like. So here is a typical day for Elizabeth working in Malawi in a rural health centre. She is one of only 2 staff there so when she is on duty she generally works alone. She will see perhaps 60 women who turn up for antenatal care each day, In a week see 6-10 women for postnatal care, 20-30 women a month for family planning and in one month deliver around 20-30 babies on her own. I asked her what would happen if on her own there was a medical emergency- such as an eclamptic fit? ….. she told me she would refer to her more senior colleague….this means her leaving the health centre to go physically to her colleague’s home with this message. I am in awe of what this young woman is doing. Helping her and other CMAs to develop their skills and ways to support them will be part of our discussions tomorrow.
At the end of our meeting this afternoon we were shown around the two hospitals in Lilongwe. The Bwaila maternity unit and the maternity unit, paediatric ward and burn unit in the other hospital. This gave us a glimpse of the conditions our Malawian colleagues work in as well as the service provision for the people of Lilongwe. Imagine a ventilated baby with pneumonia being hand ventilated by their mother and father in turns. It brings home how spoiled we are at home with our NHS.
We also bumped in to a camera team on the paediatric ward filming for Comic Relief who sponsor a project here.
Stay tuned for more adventures
Liz, Donald and Tracy