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Medical Programs

A critical need for health care assistance is evident throughout Malawi. The nationwide system of universal healthcare, put in place in the 1960s, and70’s, has been unable to keep pace with the demands of a population that has grown from four million to 18 million in the past 50 years. Adding to the population explosion has been the advent of HIV/Aids, the continued onslaught of malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cholera, and other diseases and problems that are absent, or more fully controlled in western medical communities.

The critical nature of the need was recognized in the early 90s, and its fulfillment helped form a major focus for the Malawi Project. From its earliest year’s doctors, nurses and other medical personnel from first world nations formed teams working in the warm heart of Africa. Still today, as a result of the foundation laid by the Malawi Project, medical teams continue to offer assistance in various parts of the country.

In the first phase of medical programming, one-on-one assistance was extended to individual villages, trading centers, and rural hospitals. Phase two saw the creation of a well-supplied, Malawi staffed, 5-building, 110-bed, medical complex near the capital city of Lilongwe. Here first world medical personnel could base their operations. Supplies and equipment stored and staged at this facility were distributed to a number of individual medical facilities, primarily in the central and southern regions of the country.  Phase three has seen the enlargement of a nationwide outreach to government-run facilities, with supplies going into over 600 facilities.

Medical Supplies

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Through more than a quarter of a century, the distribution of medical equipment, supplies, and medicine has been the largest program of the Malawi Project. While a portion of the supplies has gone to private, and non-governmental facilities, the bulk of the shipments have gone directly to rural, district, and level one government facilities. By and large, private facilities have outside funding and resources, while government facilities have no source beyond the cash-starved government. While government facilities are the most neglected, the bulk of the population, especially the poor, pass through the government system.

The U.S. based Malawi Project enjoys a relationship with the government allowing it direct access to individual facilities through our sister organization in Malawi, Action for Progress. This policy has been in place for 27 years and ensures supplies and equipment continue to reach the poor. In 2019, working with Action for Progress, a major new distribution hub was completed just west of the capital city of Lilongwe, ensuring sufficient space for storage, staging, and distribution of supplies nationwide.

Over the years, shipments have included top of the line equipment such as x-ray and ultrasound units, kidney dialysis machines, surgical tables, and state of the art diagnostic equipment. General items like beds, mattresses, over-bed tables, nightstands, and lighting supplies have helped upgrade wards and individual patient rooms. Bulk supplies that have shipped include medical protective gloves, operating room gowns, and items as simple as burn ointment, band-aids, gauze, and tape. Mops, brooms, and cleaning supplies for wards and operating theaters also make their way on these 40-foot cargo containers.


Medical Stories

A NATION WALKING ... AT LEAST FOR SOME!

Mbeya Village, Malawi … “I remember when we first arrived in Malawi two things that were most amazing to me,” observes Richard Stephens, a co-founder of the Malawi Project.  “One was the bamboo huts that constituted the homes of most of the village population, and second was the number of people walking. I later learned the average…

IMPRESSIVE GATHERING, OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION

Lilongwe, Malawi … “I experienced an overwhelming shock when I saw patient after patient-facing infections from contamination in the very medical facilities they had entered for relief,” observes Suzi Stephens RN, the Malawi Project’s Medical Director. She recalls her 1993 exposure to Malawi’s medical situation, “I saw conditions that were often worse than those that had caused…

RAIN, AS USUAL, BUT A WONDERFUL CHALLENGE

Lilongwe, Malawi — “A MORNING SHOWER”, “THUNDERSTORMS”, “MORNING RAINS”, “SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON”, “POSSIBLE STORMS”, “CLOUDY”, “RAIN”, … It’s that time of year in Malawi with rain predicted almost daily. Even I could be a reliable weather forecaster! For the next 5 months travel away from the main paved roads can be hazardous and should…

IMAGINE CARRYING 39,000 LBS

Lilongwe, Malawi … Imagine having to carry a trailer load of boxes totaling 39,000 pounds through the mud. Then imagine doing it in less than 2 hours. Thirty-Nine Thousand pounds is the total weight in many of the shipping containers going to Malawi. Two hours is the length of time the shipping firm allows for…

TURNING OVER CEREMONY

Blantyre, Malawi … It is a ceremony repeated over and over again. Each time medical, educational, or agricultural supplies arrive at a new location in Malawi, an event known as “the turning over ceremony,” takes place. Richard Stephens, of the Malawi Project recalls, “I thought at first this was sort of strange. We always had such…

LENIYA HAS NEVER STOPPED

Chalasikaopa Village, Malawi … Even though she was born with deformed legs, and has never walked, there are other things that include the word “never”. She has never been to school. She has never married. She has never stopped attending church services, she has never stopped running a small business, and she has never given up hope. Here name is Leniya Hebert, and she lives in…

ACTION TO THE RESCUE

Mulanje, Malawi … As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads rapidly across the nation, Action for Progress is trying to keep up with the demand by quickly delivering PPE, (Personal Protective Equipment), supplies to a number of hospitals. Faced with a critical shortage of these supplies, the medical personnel in Malawi must confront a possible disaster of…

SUPPLIES FILL CRITICAL GAP

Blantyre, Malawi … No sooner are current charts of anticipated and positive cases of the Coronavirus posted on the web site than they are obsolete, and the number has jumped upward. From April 1, when the first three cases appeared in the country, the run up has passed 30,000 suspected cases, and 4,000 confirmed cases.…

TWELVE-HUNDRED MILE JOURNEY

Indianapolis, Indiana … Over the years story after story have reflected the fortitude of the people of Malawi as they travel, often walking great distances. As the expression goes, “The road goes both directions,” meaning both sides in the equation have the same journey, just in opposite directions.  While Malawians travel long distances, the same was true…

DO WHAT YOU PROMISE

Lilongwe, Malawi … It is not unusual for the Malawi news media to send reporters and photographers to cover the distribution of supplies to Malawi schools and hospitals. With over 9 trailers, or their equivalent, in supplies reaching Malawi, since February 5, or on the way, and a distribution network of over 1,000 government schools…
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