Supporting medical training in Malawi

The College’s ambitious campaign to raise £50,000 to support medical training in Malawi was officially launched on 3 September with completion of the “5 ferry challenge”.

A team of cyclists from the College took part in the 51 mile cycle across North Kintyre and Firth of Clyde, including:

  • President, Professor David Galloway
  • Vice President (Surgical), Mike McKirdy
  • Vice President (Surgical), Kevin Baird
  • Vice President (Medical), Jackie Taylor
  • Vice President (Dental), Richard Welbury
  • Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Andy Green
  • Immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Mike Jones
  • Council Members Adrian Stanley, Emilia Crighton, and Drummond Mansbridge
  • Fellows and Members of the Faculty of Dental Surgery Jeremy Bagg, Graeme Wright and William Mclean
  • Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellow with the College Stuart Fergusson 
  • Family members of the team Julie Baird and Colin Taylor

Support was provided by the Dean of the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine, Professor Stuart Baird and the interim Chief Executive Officer, Linda Irvine among other members of the College Communications Team.

Vice President (Surgical), Mike McKirdy, who is leading the College’s global health initiative, said “Safe and effective access to primary and secondary care is needed in the developing world.  More than five billion people in low and middle income countries do not have access to safe and affordable care.  Sub Saharan Africa alone has 24% of the global burden of disease but only 3% of the health workforce.  This is a global issue, but we are focused on helping locally by identifying needs and responding with targeted support.  Delivering surgical skills and train the trainer courses in specific regions of Malawi will be important, as will providing opportunities for Malawi-based trainees to gain experience in the UK.

 “Our College has a long history of working in partnership with medical teams in different parts of Africa, and there is a strong historical bond between Scotland and Malawi.”

Working in partnership with health professionals in Malawi, we have identified clinical training needs and we will now work together to meet these needs by both delivering courses in Malawi and supporting Malawian trainees to gain clinical experience in the UK.

Two Malawian surgeons are already benefiting from College support.  Takondwa Itaye-kamangira (TK) and Wone Banda, both trainee surgeons at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre in the southern region of Malawi, are currently working in Scotland thanks to support from our College as part of the UK Government’s Medical Training Initiative (MTI).

The MTI was established to support international medical graduates to come to the UK for up to two years to gain clinical experience which will be of value to the healthcare needs in their home country. 

Wone Banda is a trainee plastic surgeon who has spent the last number of months working at the burns unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.  In Malawi, there are only two consultant plastic surgeons serving the needs of 16 million people.  

Wone commented, “I have been able to gain vital experience working in Glasgow. In Malawi there is a shortage of beds and a shortage of surgeons.  My dream is to go home and set up a dedicated plastic surgery unit.  My time in Scotland is coming to an end, but it’s good to know that other students from my country will have the opportunity to train here in the future.”

TK is a trainee general surgeon with an interest in breast disease.  She said, “My Father came to study at Strathclyde University in the 9180s and always shared stories with us about life in Glasgow.  When the opportunity came up I was determined to come over.

“Although our hospital in Blantyre is city based, we experience people travelling many miles for treatment.  With only one general surgeon and four intensive care beds, we make life or death decisions on who to treat.   

“In Malawi, the incidence of breast cancer is on the increase, while awareness is low.  Patients are often at an advanced stage of the disease by the time we see them.  Good education is key for patients and surgeons and the opportunity to learn with my Scottish colleagues is invaluable.”

As well as supporting Malawian trainees to gain experience in the UK, funds raised will also contribute towards the delivery of training in Malawi that meet the needs identified by local clinicians.  The work required to deliver these aims will be developed over the next few months as our fundraising efforts continue.

Please give what you can to support this campaign and help us to support the delivery of medical education in Malawi.

Donate directly via Just Giving at Malawi Fund 

If you would like to know more about the MTI scheme, please contact international@rcpsg.ac.uk

 



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