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.
Medical Outreach And HIV Education Mangotchi District, Malawi
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 program 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, pro-motive, 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.
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.
Volunteers are encouraged to raise additional funds (not compulsory) to help purchase extra equipment and materials to increase the impact of the project in the area. This will be arranged during your stay with the project coordinator. Please note: You must let us know if you wish to volunteer on this option, as there must be a minimum of 2 volunteers on this project in order for it to operate. As we cannot guarantee that this project is always available, you will have the opportunity to look at other available dates, or get more involved with the other aspects of the medical program instead.
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
-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.
Please Note: This centre is extremely under-funded and therefore, any extra donations and financial support you can raise would be very welcome.
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 hemoglobin, 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.
What is the minimum stay?
Where exactly is it?
Mangotchi District, Malawi
What will I be doing?
Supporting and assisting local communities through work in different medical project areas such as Home Based Care, malaria prevention and HIV/AIDS education.
- Assist in different medical project areas
- Work with disadvantaged, orphaned and vulnerable children
- Educate the community on HIV and AIDS awareness
- Help to uplift the community through healthcare education
- Provide aid to local communities through Home Based Care teams
- Develop Malaria prevention techniques and distribute mosquito nets
- Work in a local hospital and clinic
Project Fee: this entails financing that goes directly back into the project that you are involved with. This fee facilitates funding for items such medical supplies, building materials, equipment, etc. Project fees are also used to buy vehicles / equipment for the project, and for developing new housing for volunteers to provide for the expansion of the project.
- All airport transfers Lilongwe International Airport upon arrival and departure on set dates (outside these dates there will be a fee of USD175)
- Comprehensive orientation programme.
- All daily transfers to and from your projects during your stay.
- Full board and lodging which includes 3 meals a day at our volunteer house.
- Assistance in your projects by various Project Managers and Coordinators.
- 24 field support and contact in the case of an emergency.
The cost excludes:
- Personal travel insurance for the duration of your placement, which must include cover for repatriation
- All transport by air or bus to Malawi
- All items of a personal nature, such as curios, gifts, clothing (work and other)
- E-mail / Internet and telephone calls
- Soft drinks, wines and spirits
- All visas for border crossings
- Any excursions over-and-above your planned itinerary in Malawi
You will be involved with to different degrees depending on your experience and project needs at the time.
On your first full day, you will be given a comprehensive orientation by one of the project co-ordinators. The orientation will include:
- An introduction to Malawian culture and values
- Basic local language lessons
- Your health and safety whilst in Malawi
- Workplace ethics
- Money and transportation in Malawi
- An introduction to the area, the teaching project and the staff
- Local food and practices
- Places to visit in your free time
- Excursion to the local town
Minimum age 18, maximum decided on participant's health
- We have found in the past that the more you as a volunteer put into your involvement, the more you will get out. When working with the orphans, we suggest that you have some lesson plans or ideas, bring or make charts, maps, pictures of body parts etc and take initiative with the children. We are excited to offer you the opportunity to educate them, to entertain them and to love them.
- For all projects it is important to remain flexible in your attitude and work ethic and be prepared to help in any of the areas that are developing. Please be proactive so that you are of real assistance. We do ask that you arrive with an open mind, positive attitude and strong work ethic in order to utilise your time best.
- You may find it useful to read up a bit about HIV/AIDS and malaria before you arrive, as you will be involved in educating the community/children on HIV/AIDS, malaria and how to prevent them. A lot of disease related deaths result because of these.
- Please also understand that the projects are continuously evolving, being improved, and adapting to the needs of the local communities that we are involved with, so involvement areas do change from time to time. Rest assured your work will be necessary, rewarding and exciting. We invite you to be more than a tourist…