From Seattle to Senegal, the importance of skilled mental health care is universal. But in some parts of the world – such as Malawi, where Seed partners to send Global Health Services Partnership (GHSP) Volunteers – availability of skilled mental health professionals is scarce. Amelia Rutter was working in a community and mental health integrated care clinic in Washington state when she found out about GHSP. Despite the thousands of miles that separated her from her eventual placement in Malawi, as a GHSP Nurse Educator, she was drawn to the opportunity to help teach the next generation of mental health educators in a resource-limited health system. And what she found was that the mental health issues facing even incredibly different communities are largely the same. “What is so interesting is yes, there are culturally different ways of addressing mental health … Read More
At a swearing-in ceremony, the US Ambassador to Malawi recognized the cohort of Peace Corp GSHP volunteers, and the impact they will have in teaching and training medical students, nurses, and midwives in Malawi. The full article can be found here.
Prior to becoming a Global Health Service Partnership Volunteer in 2014, Megan Coe did not have any experience as a nurse educator. So naturally, she learned a lot in her first year as a faculty member at Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) in Lilongwe, Malawi. And it was the lessons she learned that first year that inspired her to extend her service for a second. “That had been my first year teaching,” she explained. “I felt that staying a second year, doing another round of of classes, I could improve what I had learned in teaching and keep moving forward.” Now, she will continue to use the knowledge she has gained in the last two years to further her service for a third year. “The more you understand and learn about the context, the more you have to offer,” says … Read More
Mindy Weschler, a visiting faculty volunteer in Malawi, grew concerned when she noticed that her students were caring for patients after surgeries with very little treatment or compassion for their pain.
Growing up in Malawi as the daughter of a nurse and an actuarial scientist, Bridget Malewezi was fascinated by her mother’s nursing books and dreamed of a career in medicine. Today, as the Malawi Country Representative for Seed, Dr. Malewezi is applying her training and experience in medicine and public health in the hope of having an even larger impact on the health care system in Malawi. “My mom’s books were a lot more interesting than my dad’s formulas,” Bridget recalls. “There were pictures, there were anatomy books. Growing up I spent a lot of time kind of reading through them, fascinated by the idea of medicine.” But it was the death of her younger sister that truly inspired her to be part of improving health care in Malawi. Bridget was only 13 when her nine-year-old sister was bitten by … Read More
Dr. Martha Makwero, the head of the Family Medicine Department at University of Malawi, College of Medicine, spoke with Seed volunteer Dr. Elizabeth Hutchinson during a visit to Seattle. Hear Dr. Makwero share the importance of family medicine in Malawi and how they are working to train the next generation of health professionals. Check out the video here.
This is a common exchange during a chat with a person I am meeting. “…You are a doctor? You are here working at Queens?” (The large central hospital in town.) “No I am working at Ndirande Health Center.” “Oh…” long pause. “How is it working there… or why are you working there?” Why would a doctor come to Malawi and not work at Queens? It is not common for doctors to work outside the central hospitals. If a doctor is going to work outside the central hospital why would she be working at Ndirande? Ndirande Health center is in the middle of a poor community that has a reputation for being rough. Why would a doctor come to work in a place that is so under-resourced? Let me insert some context. Malawi has a population of 16.3 million people. Patients … Read More
What are your strengths? What do you do well? What are you good at? My American counterpart and I start every feedback session with medical students with these questions. And usually the students stare blankly at us. Some will start hesitantly… “I come to class. I haven’t missed a teaching session…” Yes, but what things about being a doctor are you good at? They have no idea. And that is a symptom of the whole Malawi education system. Never tell a student they have done well. Ask questions until someone looks bad. Make yourself look smarter by stumping the other. The American teachers do it a little differently this year. We spend the first five minutes telling students what they are good at: You connect with patients. You seem to be able to talk with all age groups. Your instincts are good. You … Read More