PPE Donation and Schools Opening in Mangochi

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Seed Global Health is proud to join Providence St. Joseph Health in making a donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection control supplies valued at 44 million kwatchas to the Malawi College of Medicine and the Mangochi District Hospital. The donation, managed by Seed Global Health with financial support provided by Providence, represents one of the largest private commitments to the hospital’s efforts to respond to COVID-19.

The timing of this donation comes at a critical moment in Malawi. Through the fall, the country had identified more than 5,576 confirmed cases of COVID-19 resulting in more than 175 deaths.   Despite this toll, the government had made progress in containing the virus and announced a phased reopening of schools which began on September 7th.

“This is the right time to assist Mangochi,” explained District Health Officer Dr. Henry Chibowa. “We are a large district with a large population. As schools will be opening, we are bracing ourselves for this new development.”

The donation included PPE such as masks, boots, goggles, as well as, infection control supplies. With financial support provided Providence St. Joseph Health, a health system based in the United States, the supplies represent a critical input in protecting health workers and enabling the resumption of health professional education in the Mangochi district.

“We know how important personal protective equipment is to defend front line caregivers against COVID,” explained Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, Chief Clinical Officer at Providence St. Joseph Health. “It was the right decision to act quickly for our Malawian partners, by providing funds for the stockpile of PPE they diligently tracked down. This partnership is an excellent opportunity for Providence to live its mission.”

Supporting the College of Medicine and health professional education in Malawi is a priority for Providence and Seed Global Health. The organizations have partnered in various forms with the College in Mangochi since 2014 to help educate family medicine physicians at the district hospital.

Aimee Khuu, Executive Director of Global and Domestic Engagement at Providence St. Joseph Health explained, “We are pleased to provide these supplies and tremendously proud to have been partnering with the College of Medicine and Seed Global Health in Mangochi. Through our residency exchanges, it has been incredibly enriching for our organization as registrars have had opportunities to serve, learn, and strengthen clinician skills to improve health in the district.”

To date, the collaborative program has cumulatively helped to train more than 134 health professionals. The goal over the next five years is to build a national cadre of family medicine physicians who can work at district sites across the country.

“Mangochi is the only district hospital with specialists. You go to any other district hospital and you only find senior medical officers. But here, we have specialists and registrars. They are a level above. We are a very unique district,” explained Dr. Chibowa. “This is possible because of the support that Seed and Providence are providing.”

“Seed is proud to support this PPE donation and to partner with Providence and the College of Medicine to improve health in the district,” said Dr. Vanessa Kerry, Founder, and CEO of Seed Global Health. “The pandemic—in Malawi and across the world—has demonstrated the vital importance of well-trained and well-equipped health professionals who can protect populations against COVID today and ensure comprehensive health services in the future.”

In reviewing the donated supplies, Dr. Chibowa summarized the spirit of the day, “Thank you again on behalf of my colleagues. I would like to extend my gratitude to all of you as these supplies will help us keep workers and patients safe so that life can return to normal.”

Photo credit: Malawi College of Medicine.  A version of this blog post was first published in the Malawi News on October 10, 2020.


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