OBGYN Dr. Alisa Kachikis, a GHSP Volunteer, noticed that many patients at her hospital in southern Malawi were spending weeks, not days, in the ward during their visits. Some were waiting on lab results or for a consultation, while others lived too far from the hospital to make the journey more than once. The female patients in the ward received some education on health topics, but due to a lack of resources, the majority of their time was just spent waiting.
Last year, Alisa worked with colleagues to apply for a grant from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and Peace Corps to create an education center in the hospital’s maternity wing. They proposed that the center would serve as a place where patients and their families could learn about and access resources on health conditions, prevention and treatment protocols during their stay at the hospital. It could also be used for other hospital activities including staff meetings, continuing medical education sessions and other trainings.
The grant was approved in November 2014 and construction began this spring. By late April, a fresh coat of paint was up on the walls, the projector was mounted, and before the center even officially opened, a nursing student already led its first teaching session. On May 4, after an incredible amount of work from countless individuals, Alisa joined her colleagues to open the doors of the Gogo Chatinkha Family Education Center in hopes of strengthening health education and improving the lives of their patients.