Monday, 28 September 2009

Dinner and dance in honour of Prof Robin Broadhead

Well you may wonder who Professor Robin Broadhead is in Malawi or at the University of Malawi,but ask any Malawian doctor and he will tell you everything about this man who has moved medicine well beyond where everyone else would have imagined it to be in Malawi within the last few years. To me this pediatrician he is a teacher, a mentor, a colleague, a friend and all you can say .To others he is the Principal of College of Medicine ,former head of paediatrics department at medical college ,blaah , blaah ,blaah!!!.
Well we will be having a dinner and dance in honour of him at Ryalls hotel in Blantyre on the 9th of October because I am told this has been his last term of office as a College Principal .I look forward to dining with him.
If you want to know what he has been able to achieve for college of medicine , visit the website at College of Medicine and you will see how far the college has moved.
I hope during the dinner we will have a moment to reflect on the life of Dr George Kafulafula ,his vice Principal who passed away at a very early stage only a few weeks ago .Dr Kafulula ,a young Malawian Obstetrics and Gynecologist had made a great contribution to the college together with Proffessor Robin Broadhead. If I was a good writer ,I would have written lots about these two and the College of medicine.But I am handicapped and tongue tied ,I don’t even know where to start to mention many of their success stories !!!!
For now ,I can only wish Broadhead a good retirement as the Principal of college of Medicine .
He will be missed by many.
Have you heard about Prof Robin Broadhead and his achievements in Malawi ? do you want to comment?
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Another success story from training community health workers in rural Malawi in identifying blind children

This young girl in the picture has cataract, and has been identified by one of the community health workers that we trained in Mangochi district. The girl was struggling in school but did not know what problem she was suffering. Through the study being conducted by support from British Council for prevention of Blindness (BCPB), our team has trained over 400 dedicated community eye health workers.
As a thank you for the good work we have given the health worker the t-shirt that he is wearing.
We have also advised the girl to come to Lions Sight First Eye hospital, Blantyre for eye surgery .We do refund the transport cost for the girl and the guardian if they get to Blantyre –through funds donated by Future Vision Ministries (FVM) in Canada. But we are running low on the funds and will not continue doing the good work unless other well wisher comes along .We appreciate any donation to BICO (Blantyre Institute for Community Ophthalmology) and will acknowledge you.BICO relies 100% on charity donations.

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Scotland revisited

This time the trip to Scotland has been a very brief and short one. We are in Glasgow at York hill children hospital as part of our links programme and we have been invited for two weeks .We will be going back to Malawi weekend of 6th October .For the 1st time I have travelled with my boss, who happens also to be the hospital Director at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Blantyre .My boss and I have known each for a long time (we first met at University of Malawi in Zomba in 1988) ,and did internship around the same time; we shared a flat in Nairobi Kenya in the late 90’s while studying to become eye specialist, and have been in the same department in Blantyre since 2004. Today we visited the town of Blantyre that is in Scotland; indeed a small town where the famous Dr David Livingstone was born and where our Blantyre city came from . As you can see from the picture ,a sign saying welcome to Blantyre is displayed on the entrance.Susan the orthoptist at Yorkhill hospital and the husband kindly agreed to take us to see the original Blantyre town . Apart from the David Livingstone Museum the town looks to be deserted. But it has a lot of stories to tell.This man did a lot for Africa .And indeed he discovered lake Nyasa (now Lake Malawi).We have to thank him for christianity that has now wide spread.Did you know that during the entire trip and expeditions in Africa Dr Livingstone only manged to convert one person(an local African chief) to christianity? The rest of the developments only started after he had died!!! Isnt that amazing looking at how many churches we now have?
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A short meeting between Dr Khumbo Kalua , Senior eye specialist from Lions Sight First Eye hospital , Blantyre ,Malawi and Mr Kashinath Chatruvedi , MD for First Merchant Bank (FMB),Blantyre has resulted in over 120 blind people from areas surrounding Zomba and Machinga district having their sight restored through eye operations performed at Zomba central hospital from the 14-18th September 2009 .
Since the worsening of the global final crisis earlier this year , a Malawi Ministry of Health partner who was heavily involved in supporting eye care in the South East Zone ( Mulanje ,Phalombe, Zomba ,Machinga and Mangochi) has pulled out unexpectedly early this year and as a result there had been no surgical sight restoring eye camps conducted in this zone the whole of the year. Reports that many blind people were suffering in this zone prompted Dr Kalua to approach the MD for FMB, and find out if he would help to solicit funds to support eye operations. Supporting Eye care has not attracted good funding from Ministry of Health because of priority in other life threatened diseases like Malaria and HIV/AIDS. However those who are blind can more than often be helped with very little resources compaired to other diseases .
Dr Kalua had approached the MD as an appeal from the private to support the public (private- public partnership) and reading the newspaper that the private sponsoring things like Golf and other sports ,and the MD agreed to talk Rotary Club of Limbe; who inturn agreed to support eye operation in Zomba and Machinga districts .A generous donation to cover logistics involving the identification of patients ,transportation to and from hospital ,and transportation of staff from Blantyre was solicited by the mD from the Rotary club .
Patients with cataract were mobilized from Machinga and Zomba , picked from their homes, had eye operations done at Zomba Central hospital and were ferried back to their homes . Operations were done by a team of two dedicated eye specialist doctors from Lions Sight first eye hospital, Blantyre.
It was all happiness and smiles the next day when patients who had been blind for sometime (up to 5 years) were able to regain their sight and see again.The staff were thanked for the good work that is being done and these good stories were reported in the “Nation” newspapers.
Cataract is the commonest eye condition that causes blindness in Malawi and a painless operation of less than 15 can result to total reversal of blindness with patients completely regaining their sight.
Currently over 20,0000 of all adult aged 50 and above in Malawi are blind or have severely visual impairment from Cataract and are waiting for cataract surgery . Supporting one cataract operation to restore sight cost less than USD 50 per patient and up to 20 patients can be done per day by one surgeon.

All well wishers who would like to come forward to support the eye operations in Malawi should contact Dr Khumbo Kalua at LIONS EYE HOSPITAL, BLANTYRE!

There are currently only 8 eye specialists based in Malawi , and training to be an eye specialists takes a minimum of 10 years of medical school (6 years of undergraduate and 4 years of specialization).

Patients with eye problems can go directly to any one of the tertiary hospital in Malawi in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu and can be seen there.
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Thursday, 24 September 2009

Hit hard but still kicking

Been very quiet because not only did my computer crash ,but my blog site was attacked more than once making it impossible for me to access my site .
But I am still around ,having returned from Livingstone ,Victoria falls in Zambia a few weeks ago where wee spent a substantial amount of time examining people in the community.Community Ophthalmology is indeed advancing.
Unfortunately I lost most of the good pictures .
Should people be taking an active role destroying blog sites like mine?
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