MEDICAL OUTREACH AND HIV EDUCATION, MALAWI
Make a difference to those who need it most

For more information and bookings click here*

Your volunteering mission on The Malawi Medical Outreach and HIV Education project is to make a difference to those who need it most as you assist in Home Based Care, offer support at the field dressing clinic, and educate local communities during health workshops on HIV and AIDS awareness and malaria prevention. Also spend time with young orphans and give them the attention they deserve but hardly ever get.

The majority of Malawi’s population lives in rural areas and is provided with free health care through a governmental health care system that is organised into three levels. Health centres manage the most common and easily treated problems and offer maternity services. Cases that cannot be dealt with at this level are referred to district community hospitals, which provide secondary health care, including some types of basic surgery. Tertiary care is then offered at one of the three central hospitals, situated in the North, Central and Southern regions. This programme consists of many different project areas that you can get involved with and they are as follows:

Home Based Care:

Home Based Care (HBC) is a new initiative that has been set up in some of the local villages in Mangochi District. Home based care is defined as the provision of health services by formal and informal caregivers in the home, in order to promote, restore and maintain a person’s maximum level of comfort, function and health, including care towards a dignified death. Home care services can be classified into preventive, promotive, therapeutic, rehabilitative, long-term maintenance and palliative care categories.  It is an integral part of community-based care. Community-based care is the care that the patient can access nearest to home, which encourages participation by people, responds to the needs of people, encourages traditional community life and creates responsibilities.  As a volunteer your role will be to assist the local HBC team in the village. This involves:

Working hand in hand with the local volunteer team. The primary aim of the HBC project is to be able to train up the local care team to such a degree that the local carers will be able to move out of the current village and start another HBC programme in another village.

Put together lessons on home based care activities such as: HIV/AIDS, malaria prevention, personal hygiene, drug administration, recording information, pressure points, first aid, wound care, bed bathing, infection prevention, sexual health awareness, nutrition and digestion, TB, and rehabilitation. A manual provided by the government will help you with these lessons plans.

Depending on the progress of existing schemes you will either be carrying on other volunteers’ work, or possibly helping to set up a new HBC programme in another village. You can get involved with home visits within the local community and assess the patient, give them advice or treatment on their illness as required. You will do these visits with the local home based care students you are training in order for them to get more experience.

Malaria Prevention:

Malaria is an epidemic in Africa that effects large numbers of people each year. The poorest people are affected the most as they do not have the financial resources to protect their homes and themselves adequately against the mosquito transmitted disease. In addition, long term induction of prophylactics to reduce the effect of Malaria is not considered an option due to the rapid build up of resistance to oral drugs. For local communities the best options to prevent malaria is to minimise the contact with mosquitoes. This project enables you to assist local communities with malaria prevention techniques to implement in their houses.

You will work from our volunteer base on the shores of Lake Malawi in the surrounding villages. A local Malawian malaria liaison officer will facilitate your work and provide interpretation to you and the team.

Your help assisting with the malaria prevention techniques will involve:

  • Treating new mosquito nets with long term mosquito repellent and distributing them in the villages
  • Treating and repairing existing mosquito nets
  • Spraying the interior walls of each building in the house, except those storing food
  • Conducting malaria prevention education lessons with the members of the house with the help of your liaison officer
  • Conducting malaria prevalence research with each house for long term assessment of project results
  • Installing/fixing/replacing fine gauze netting over all openings in each sleeping hut

Field Dressing Clinic:

The FDC is an extension of the treatment provided at the Primary Health Care Centre and forms part of the Home Based Care Education.

Despite the treatment offered many patients will leave wounds unattended and will not travel to the hospital due to affordability of transport to the hospital, accessibility of the hospital, especially in the wet season and the time that attending the hospital takes out of their working days.

Patients may attend FDC with a range of complaints such as abscesses, flesh wounds, fractures and burns.  The FDC, which is within walking distance of the volunteer house, provides an easy and accessible alternative for patients from the surrounding communities to be able to return regularly. By encouraging them to return on a regular basis it also makes it easier to ensure that wounds are healing properly, reducing risks of infection and other associated problems.

This activity mainly involves cleaning wounds, dressing/ bandaging wounds and making referrals to the consultants or hospital for more serious injuries and where further treatment, such as antibiotics, may be required.

Local Orphan Day Care Centre:

This project work is suited to any volunteers, regardless of your medical skills, but mostly recommended for those with little, or no previous experience. This orphan day care centre currently supports approximately 70-100 young orphans and vulnerable children, many of whom are affected by HIV/AIDS. You will be involved in a range of activities, which include some pre-school teaching to prepare them for their education ahead, helping with feeding each day, teaching the importance of health and nutrition and HIV/AIDS prevention.

In general, your day is primarily focused upon making the children smile and providing much needed love and support. You will be working typically from 8am until 11am each day.

HIV/AIDS awareness:

The aim of this project is to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS, thus reducing the stigma associated with such an illness, whilst also educating local communities in the prevention of this virus. This is then partnered with a support network that is in great demand and is ever growing amongst the poorer communities in this area.

Volunteers will visit and spend time with HIV/AIDS groups in the surrounding communities providing education, awareness, support, discussion and encouraging the group members to share experiences amongst themselves and with the wider community, creating a better understanding.  Confident and established groups may link up or plan drama workshops to perform to the local community members.

Primary Health Care Centre:

This project work is best suited to volunteers with previous medical experience, as the centre provides primary medical care and treatment.  You will generally spend from about 8am until midday at the centre.  The centre has a number of departments in which volunteers with relevant experience may assist, including outpatients, female ward, male ward, maternity ward, nutrition unit, laboratory and basic dental treatment.

Typically qualified volunteers will assist the local nurses and doctors in their everyday duties.  This may include midwifery, ward rounds, cleaning and dressing wounds, minor medical procedures and any other role that may be requested.  There is also some lab technician experience available, carrying out vital tests, such as haemoglobin, malaria, syphilis, and pregnancy. Some volunteers, such as those studying medicine, may also have the opportunity to observe clinicians in consultations, which will provide an insight into tropical and infectious diseases and their treatment.  There is some work available for less qualified volunteers, but this tends to involve shadowing local nurses or doctors and also administrative duties.

For more information and bookings click here*

* links to our partner's web site

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