Nkhoma Mission Hospital to receive AMH-CBN funds

Catherine Crawford, Family Medicine Specialist at Nkhoma Mission Hospital in Malawi, shares how the funds from the AMH-CBN Matching grant will be used to improve the training of Family Medicine Registrars, and thus, the country at large.

These funds will pay for three additional houses for the new family medicine registrars {residents} in our Christian Training Program. A medical school opened in Malawi in 1991, and now has come the time that medical progress occurs through trained professionals on the post-graduate level. Malawi physicians are becoming increasingly motivated for the speciality of Family Medicine and the good it will bring to the millions of Malawians who need primary care doctors practicing holistically.

One patient, Angela, is one such Malawian who is excelling now that she has access to family medical care. As a young child, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and was in and out of various health centers, including Nhkoma Hospital, for years, receiving small amounts of medicine here and there. Serious attention was not given to her needs. When family medicine came to Nkhoma, continuity clinics for children were started and Angela began to receive the proper monthly checkups and insulin therapy. Now, for the first time, she is able to attend school faithfully and she stays well, avoiding long and life threatening hospital stays.

But there are so many like Angela, who need physicians who understand more than just medicine — who can understand the challenges of life in rural Malawi. For example: how can a village girl like Angela, without access to electricity or filtered water, properly store and administer her own insulin without danger?? These holistic issues are just two of the many focuses that the Nkhoma family medicine training gives to our registrars.

Our Nkhoma-based, Christian family medicine registrar program began in October 2016, in conjunction with Malawi College of Medicine. Two Malawian physicians began, and the hope was to add two more the following fall, but there was no additional housing available for more registrars, and a second class didn’t happen.

With the ability to house more registrars, the program can expand to have a larger impact on the country. The current registrars will now learn the invaluable lessons of being an instrument in the training of their colleagues who are a year or two behind. This will not only increase their own knowledge and accountability, but also alllow them to practice leadership and administration.

Malawi’s Ministry of Health has committed to funding Family Medicine physicians in each of its 28 districts. Their goal is for the districts to fill these posts within the next 15 years. The registrars are being trained in leadership, logistics of rural and community health, and excellent primary care, and we are committed to the hope that the influence of our curriculum and their exposure will motivate them to stay in Malawi and fulfill this great need.

It is because of the funds from the AMH-CBN matching grant that many individual lives will benefit. Training physicians is a long-term commitment requiring many partnerships. Thank you for partnering with us!

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