Thursday, 26 March 2009

Great to be back and celebrate my 100th anniversary

Today is a very special day for me , for two reasons : this is my 100th blog since I started 2-3 years ago .So I am celebrating my 100th anniversary and join me in the celebrations by sending me and email with your comments .Secondly, I have just returned from the four hectic days field trip in Zomba .It was a very tiresome assignment as we were busy screening children from the community with eye problems .Everyday we started off at six in the morning and often got back around 8 in the evening .The Zomba district health office was very supportive, they gave as a four by four vehicle for the entire period and also provided eye drugs. Well ,there was no way I could have accessed internet in those 4 days ; but with the company I had ,I didn’t miss being in the net . We went boat riding along Lake Chirwa; as some of the villages that we planned to visit could only be accessed by boat .it was more of a canoe than a boat as it was propelled manually .We also bought fish and ate local food stuffs. Lake Chirwa has several small fish called “matemba” which are considered a delicacy for many Malawian families. I love this type of adventure. I am now back in Blantyre for a few weeks before I embark on the next trip .

As usual the pictures cant attach due to slow speed of internet .you will se them later.

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Monday, 16 March 2009

Future promising Eye Doctors for Malawi from College of Medicine ,Blantyre

There is need for continuity for what I am trying to do with blind children in Zomba and many others .However taking the fact that I am getting old (see evidence from my grey hair Mbuha in tumbuka) , it is important that young doctors are trained to take up
where we will stop. It is for this reason that I dedicate part of my time to lecturing at college of Medicine, University of Malawi .Today marks an important land mark in the training programme because two of our students have passed their mid training examinations (Part 1) and within the next 24 months they should be graduating as eye specialist. I am very delighted because I now know come what may ,they will be more doctors in my field to carry on the work I have started .This picture is taken at the front of the hospital to commemorate that the students (Drs Petros Kayanga and Drs Tamara Chirambo) have passed with flying colours .The lady at the back roll is dr Dunera Ilako from University of Nairobi ,Kenya and she was here as the external examiner. More interestingly, she was my teacher in Nairobi 10 years ago when I was a resident there. The other colleagues at the back roll were external examiners from United Kingdom.
I can’t wait to see my own students graduate as colleagues.
This is where I teach College of Medicine, Blantyre , Malawi and if you click on it , the website provides more information about origins of our college and what we have achieved so far.
Are you one of the doctors or nurses who have abandoned your country for greener pasture elsewhere? If so know that in a few years time, we will have replaced you.

Do you want to know more about the fun of being a University lecturer ?

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Frequent changes in Hospital management is a sign of in-efficiency in the Health System in Malawi

My plan for this week was to meet Dr T ,the director of Zomba Central hospital and discuss the way forward for the upcoming eye hospital .I called his secretary to book an appointment ; and I am told Dr T doesn’t work for that hospital anymore ; he has been transfer to another hospital .And I ask who is now the new director ,Dr MC who was not long ago kicked out of the senior position he was heading in the ministry and sent to a district ; now he seemed to have regained his strength and be promoted again. How was he picked them to head the challenging Zomba hospital? As usual no vacancy advertisements and no interviews were held so he must have been hand picked by someone else; I do not want to speculate .But its frustrating that in my ministry of Health people are given management position not because of performance; but rather because of connections and often as a result when the one who picks them changes position , the whole team of hospital directors change and often without handing over to the new director .For some of us who want action to continue it’s a bit frustrating because when you go to meet the new director he is not aware of discussions and decisions made by the former director .No files ,minutes or any records of previous discussions can be traced ; and often you have to start from scratch. Frequent changes in Hospital management are a sign of in-efficiency in the Health System in Malawi, and these need to stop for continuity of work.

I am looking forward to working well with MC, even though he doesn’t have the slightest clue that he is supposed to be my boss and what I am supposed to be doing in Zomba. I am just preparing a whole lecture about blind children in Zomba , how to find them and what my role is and I am hoping he will have time to listen (most directors don’t) and support me . Does he know anything about centre for education of the blind? I bet not.
I will also be advising him to check on
VISION2020 website for more information about origins of my work and what we intend to achieve.

Do you want to communicate with him on my behalf?
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Sunday, 15 March 2009

Market day in Chingale Zomba

Today I have come across a market taking place along the Zomba road on my way to Chingale Health centre and have stopped to buy tomatoes and cabbage for home in Blantyre .
I love field work because you get lot of cheap fresh vegetables.And I am not missing London at the moment; here the weather is very good. Infact the team from London is visiting me next week since it will be a while before I go back there .
I have bought a whole bucket of tomatoes for around $1 (£0.7) and have also bought cabbage and fresh beans.

In Chingale we have planned a training for a group of volunteers. The road is so bad and it’s a bit challenging getting there . There is now a lot of fresh maize in Malawi so at-least there is less hunger at the moment .

I will post pictures of Chingale later .
Have you been to Chingale ? Do you want to know how to get there ? Do you just want to comment?

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Jali , Zomba

Today, we have been privileged to be conducting out training for community Health workers (volunteers and health Surveillance assistants ) at Jali epicenter in Zomba districts. I am with my team as usual ,Frank Mbewe, Ruby Ngongola and Mr Munthali from Zomba Central hospital eye department .The road to Jali used to be very bad but now its all tarred and it takes only about 30 minutes from Zomba towm.
There is so much happening in the field that I wish I had time to write about everything, but this time its not possible. Just imagine yesterday I was stuck in the mud with the car for over two hours until a group of well wishers pulled me out .
We have been to Chingale , Chipini, Mayaka , Ngwelero, Lilkangala and so far we have trained over 120 eye health workers.
Next week we start screening the children the trainees have identified .
I am officially travelling from Blantyre to Zomba (60 km) and returning on a daily basis .
You can see me standing and the partcipants eating while the classroom lecture is going on.

Have you been to Jali? Do you want to know how to get there ? Do you just want to comment?

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Sunday, 8 March 2009

My Birthday

For my birth day , my family took me out for dinner at Greens restaurant in Blantyre.
Its nice to have food without knowing how much it costs.
And to have good food for once. I have during the past few days been spending so much time in the field in Zomba .Its good I do not have any major trips planned for most of this year ; so I can spend sometime with my daughter .I cant believe she has grown so big ; and its almost time for her to start preschool .Look at her .she was weighing less than a Kilogramee not long ago.She is indeed a miracle
Gotta go, not much time to blog anymore .And the internet is so slow today ,I am unable to attach any pictures so i will attach her pictures another time.

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