Wednesday, 2 December 2015

It's a Lilongwe to Malawi...

We’ve now been in Malawi for 10 days and have travelled the length and breadth of the country with our driver Penjani and his pick-up, feeding him coke and cake so he stays awake on the long drives. Singing 'It's Lilongwe to Malawi' to the tune of 'It's a long way to Tipperary...' has kept us laughing along the road.
The car over-heated yesterday but thankfully some water in the radiator and a quick prayer did the trick!  We have hired the car and driver from the Aids Project at Ekwendeni Mission Station.  It's good to know that the money is helping a good cause

We’ve stayed with families on mission stations in the north and the south, visiting hospitals, clinics and midwifery training schools/universities and meeting anyone who can tell us something about midwifery and professional associations in Malawi.  We’ve met donors and NGOs, doctors, midwives, nurse and students.  We’ve seen some really impressive buildings and heard of great achievements but we’ve also been trying to dig deeper and see the reality behind the facades and hear the stories of people on the ground. 
Kamuzu College of Nursing, Lilongwe.  We also visited the Blantyre Campus in the South 
Student midwives learning normal delivery skills on the 'Mama Natalie' mannekins

Now we’re back in the capital, Lilongwe, to join the Association of Malawian Midwives (AMAMI) at their AGM today.  We’re looking forward to hearing the achievements and challenges of the past year and their plans for the future.  We hope to meet the Ministry of Health, the Nurses Trades' Union, the Nurses and Midwives Council and to make a return visit to the British Department for International Development before heading home on Friday.

Meeting Alice Kandango, Midwifery Teacher at Kamuzu College of Nursing's Blantyre Campus

Labour Ward in a Township Health Centre in Blantyre

Midwife Ruby, Matron Modesta and Clinical Officer Frank at Ndirande Township Health Centre where they have 10 deliveries per day, no  operating theatre and no doctor.  They have 4 midwives though they should have 9. They are currently building a theatre and hope it will be staffed.  I hope so too.

One of the personal highlights of this trip was meeting with Dr Patrice White from the American College of Nurse Midwives who happened to be in the same town in the same country at the same time as me.  We used to share a house in Cambodia many moons ago and now have similar roles in our respective professional associations.  Such a treat.

a very jet-lagged Patrice

With Patrice in Blantyre, after delicious curries at the Malawi Sun Hotel

Once our trip is complete we’ll be writing our report for the trip’s funders and hopefully putting bids together to continue supporting midwifery in Malawi in some way.

Thanks for reading 

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