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MACS and Covid-19 in Malawi

05/05/2020

 
Health Education Poster

Canon H Nyasulu, Headmaster of Malosa Secondary School reports that “all schools were closed prematurely on 21st March 2020 following the President's directive to prevent the virus from spreading. The schools closed before students had written mock and end of term two examinations. MSCE Results were scheduled to start in June. The government says when the situation normalises the school calendar will start from where it stopped. The calendar will be pushed forward and the MSCE Examinations will again be rescheduled accordingly”.

In the rapidly developing situation, £2,000 has been donated as emergency grants to each of the three Anglican boarding schools in the Dioceses of Lake Malawi and Upper Shire in order to cover such on-going expenses as security staff and electricity until such time as students return and school fees are paid. This is on top of the £6,000 which was sent to Anglican hospitals for cleaning materials and Personal Protection Equipment. A Post-Covid Support Fund of £10,000 has been set on one side in order to aid the necessary reconstruction of medical and educational services in the country once the worst of the virus has run its course

An additional £6.000 has been sent to Malawi to assist three Anglican boarding schools, taking the total to £22,000 pledged by MACS to our partners in Malawi as Covid-19 arrives in the country.

The virus arrived relatively late in Malawi and, as at 4th May, the Ministry of Health reported only 41 cases with just 3 deaths. But the country as a whole remains very vulnerable. On 3rd April, the Guardian reported that: “In Malawi only 20 people a day can be tested for the virus, and there are just 25 intensive care beds and seven ventilators in the country of more than 18 million people. Since February, however, the Government has been racing to curb Covid’s arrival.”

A nationwide lockdown, originally planned to come into effect on Saturday, 17th April, has been postponed indefinitely pending a Supreme Court decision concerning appropriate provision for the informal sector of the economy which makes up around 89% of Malawians in work.  

 

The BBC reported that on 29th April, President Peter Mutharika announced an emergency cash transfer programme for the people worst affected by Covid-19. Eligible households will receive a monthly payment of 35,000 Malawian kwacha ($47; £38) by mobile cash transfer starting in May.

 

The UK Department for International Development has provided £1.8 million to UNICEF Malawi, the International Monetary Fund will give US$150 million and the World Bank announced a $37million grant to strengthen Malawi’s capacity to meet the outbreak.

Handwashing in action
 

A.G.M. and Annual Supporters Day

19th September 2020

Click on the image for directions to St James the Less

SJTLBack.jpg
 

The impact of Cyclone Idai on communities in Malawi has been severe.   Recent reports indicate that, once again, it is the most vulnerable people who have suffered most.  14 regions in Malawi across Central and Southern Regions have been affected.  It is hard to get accurate numbers but it is understood that up until 18th March 56 people had died, 577 had been injured and more than 125,382  people displaced.  Many are now living in temporary accommodation and the risk of disease increases daily. There is urgent need for food as well as clean water and adequate sanitation.  

 

On Monday 18th March, MACS trustees agreed to send £1000 to Malawi to help the local church in Southern Region to address the major and immediate needs.  The ACM ( Anglican Council of Malawi) will be coordinating the Disaster Relief Fund and therefore, should any supporters wish to make additional contributions towards this, please send your donations to MACS, marked Disaster Relief, and we will forward the extra money to the ACM.

 

You can send a cheque to The Treasurer, 217 Main Road, Hawkwell, Essex, SS5 4EQ or transfer funds to Santander Sort code: 09 01 55 Account number: 53606700. 

 

 Eye Surgery

In Africa, almost one in ten people over the age of 50 years are blind; yet two thirds of blindness is due to two treatable conditions - cataract and glaucoma.

 

Cataract surgery is one of the most cost-effective of all health interventions, capable of restoring sight in a high proportion of cases. 

 

Glaucoma is more challenging, as treatment cannot restore the sight that has been lost, but it can reduce the risk of progression to total irreversible blindness. Surgery is often recommended for the treatment of glaucoma in Africa, as compliance with other current forms of medical treatment may be extremely low.

 

To reduce avoidable blindness in Africa and the poverty associated with it, the number of cataract and glaucoma surgeries needs to increase.  There is also a great need to train many eye surgeons safely, efficiently, effectively, and to an acceptable level of competence.  There is also a need to maintain and improve the quality and outcomes of surgery.

 

We have set up a simulation Surgery Training Unit at the University of Cape Town to offer educationally-underpinned and standardised simulation surgical training. 

 

The results of this project so far have been exceptionally encouraging.  To date, we have trained 24 trainee eye doctors from Eastern and Southern Africa in Cataract surgery. We have trained a further 19 in glaucoma surgery.  The feedback has been exceptionally positive. The initial results of the training, in terms of surgical competence, have been profound.

 

We will train a further sixty eye surgeon trainees in the year ahead.

 

This training approach, using simulation-based surgical education was piloted in Malawi and Uganda in 2015 by Dr Will Dean when undertaking his Masters in Education thesis studies for Imperial College London.  The initial pilot studies were supported and funded by Malawi Association for Christian Support, and we will be forever grateful for this crucial initial support at the very beginning of the project.

In 2015 MACS supported Dr Will Dean to carry out a pilot scheme in Malawi for this way of training eye surgeons in Africa.

 

New Trustee

MACS has a new trustee,  Adrian Brown.

Adrian grew up in Malawi till age 18, living in Lilongwe and Zomba, and has retained an ongoing interest in the country, through Malawi groups in London, and visiting with his family subsequently. As an agricultural officer, his father took the family on frequent journeys to rural Malawi, and, indeed, lived on agricultural research stations in both Malawi and Botswana. Adrian has therefore retained a keen interest in development. He has been a supporter of MACS for a number of years.

Professionally, Adrian’s career has spanned operational management rolls in Boots, including running the Boots the Chemist stores in London, where he worked to ensure they were part of an integrated system of local healthcare services ; and more recently, in fund management, looking after pension fund and charity endowment money. He is also a Trustee of the Archbishop Tenison School Foundation, an inner London state school.

 

Oh yes they did!       £740

Each Christmas the boys in year 7 at Loughborough Grammar School put on a pantomime.  At the end of the pantomime a collection was made for MACS, to pay school fees for students in Malawi who would otherwise be unable to attend Secondary School. 

For the last three years the pupils of year 7 have been supporting students at Nkope Day Secondary School..

The photo shows Head of Year 7 Mr Jeremy Parton handing a cheque for £740 to MACS Trustee Richard Davies

 

Thank you to the entire Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway for their generous support of the theatre project which is now fully funded and nearing completion.

 Alistair Watson, who spearheaded the appeal on behalf of MACS, is seen here receiving the cheque for £11,206.91.

Click link below to go the the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway website for more details.

Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway

Macobo food aid distribuition

 

Henry Chikakuda and volunteers from the Malosa Community Based Organisation (MACOBO) give ongoing practical support to many housebound and vulnerable families in the surrounding villages.  Last year's floods resulted in serious food scarcity so Henry sought and received sufficient funds from MACS to provide maize and soya pieces of chicken flavour to 162  people.

Click on the link beow to read Henry's report.

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CONTACT DETAILS: MACS Secretary,Julie Lupton, The Cottage, 72 North Street, Biddenden, Kent TN27 8AS  Tel: 01580 291658

info@malawimacs.org