The second volunteer team has now safely arrived in Malawi, and tomorrow will be heading north to Mzuzu, and thence to Livingstonia. They eye clinic there currently has no staff owing to the death a few months ago of Mr Mkandawire, the ophthalmic clinical officer in charge (see post here), so the team will be talking to managers to offer help in finding staffing solutions. The trust will continue to make available funds to sponsor the training of suitable local staff.
While the team are there, if required by hospital managers, they will be available to see patients. Later, the team will travel to the mission hosptal at Ekwendeni, and finally to the mission hospital at Embangweni.
Team 1 has now returned to the UK, and we’re so grateful for their amazing contribution to improving eye care services in northern Malawi. We look forward to seeing the photos and videos they took, many of which will start appearing on this blog soon, together with reports on the work done. Thank you Steven, Josie, Lianne and David!
The current visiting team is having a busy time working in the Mzimba area, at Embangweni mission hospital and Mzimba government hospital. At both hospitals, together with local staff, they’ve overseen the delivery and and installation of lens cutting machines, followed by training. This is a big step forward in developing eye care that is not dependent on donated second-hand glasses.
The team has also trained staff at a local school to do basic eye health screening. This is the first time we’ve done this and, with local primary care workers, hope to learn how to develop this effectively and sustainably, both here and elsewhere in the northern area.
We have two teams visiting from the UK this year, during September-October. The first has just departed and will, among many tasks, be working to help set up lens cutting machines at Embangweni CCAP mission hospital, and Mzimba government hospital. The machines, sent from the UK, have just arrived in a freight container (organised by Smileawi, our dentist friends).
The objective of Focus on Malawi has always been to support the development of eye-care services that become locally sustainable. One more step in this process happened yesterday when a large consignment of donated uncut lenses was delivered to Embangweni Hospital. Soon, another big step: the staff will be trained to cut and insert lenses into frames, ready for dispensing.