AMECA supports surgical training at district hospitals in Malawi through Links in Africa for Surgical Training (LAST). Led by AMECA’s Clinical Director, consultant surgeon Paul Thomas, LAST is committed to providing surgical training to improve sustainable surgical healthcare in Africa.
In response to an invitation from the College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi, LAST is working in collaboration with other committed parties to support sustainable surgical training.
Surgeons are self-funding, resulting in a high impact, low cost training initiative; hospital staffing levels are maintained as staff are trained within their own district hospitals. With the proviso of adequate hospital management co-ordination and liaison, elective patients can be scheduled during a training week, giving a benefit to both patient outcomes and staff skills acquisition.
Teams of UK surgeons visit Malawi twice a year, providing surgical training to clinical officers in the district hospitals of Mwanza, Nsanje, Mangochi and Mulanje in southern Malawi, in addition to bringing out a considerable volume of donated medical equipment to the hospitals.
In April 2015 LAST and AMECA, in collaboration with Dutch surgeons through Malawi.Kom took part in a Basic Trauma Life Support teaching course, traveling over 3000 km and teaching in various mission and district hospitals in northern Malawi.
Over 120 healthcare professionals and ancillary staff were given BTLS instruction; the courses were a huge success and provided a great opportunity for liaison with other medical charities which share common objectives for education and training in the rural districts of Malawi.
We greatly look forward to participation in future BTLS courses and feel that they provide a very good example of high impact, low cost medical and surgical training.
LAST has been successful in obtaining several grants from THET, (Tropical Hygiene Education Trust), to assist LAST in its objectives in surgical training as part of the COST Africa Programme. Additional donations enabled LAST to purchase of laptops and dongles to assist with internet services at district hospitals. A total of 8 laptops were purchase from the UK through Computer Aid International;these laptops and the dongles were donated to the College of Medicine for distribution to the designated district hospitals taking part in the COST Africa study.
A significant amount of equipment was donated to various hospitals in September 2015. From Kalemba Mission Hospital, an extract of an email to the charity: “Dear Ruthie, Since the last time we met, at the Kalemba theatre blessing day, I had been busy to spare some time to express Kalemba’s gratitude over the donation you made. That was very considerate of you to assist Kalemba, thank you. We are very grateful. The items you donated were put right away to use. You cannot imagine how they have assisted some less privileged patients.” Richard Kamphale, Clincal Officer.
To send surgical teams to support and mentor clinical officer trainees in essential and emergency surgical care in district general hospitals.
To collaborate with academic and clinical schools in Africa to enable structured support in delivering the curriculum.
To work in global partnership in audit, research and clinical governance activities.
Members of the LAST initiative attended a forum at The Royal College of Surgeons in June 2013 with representatives from ICES (International collaboration for essential surgery) and the RCSI, (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). This was an important discussion forum focusing on the training of the paramedical workforce in East Africa for providing essential and emergency surgical care in district hospitals.