Malawi breast Course for Nurses Day 1

We have just finished the first day of the Breast Course for Nurses in Lilongwe.  It is the first time I have been in Malawi.  I have heard what a beautiful country it is and I haven't been disappointed.  It is small  country surrounded by Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania.  Running along the country is Lake Malawi: the largest lake in the world

The course is being held in the Tidziwe centre, Kamuzu Central Hospital, Lilongwe.  It is the result of a collaborative project between the University of North Carolina, the Ministry of Health and Kamuzu Hospital.  Dr Lily Gutnik has been in Malawi for the last 11 months training health care workers to do clinical breast screening.  Six months ago, she asked if we would be interested in doing a joint project which was extended to training nurses from both the central hospital and peripheral hospitals and clinics.

Dr Vanessa Msosa
We have about 26 students and they are a mixture of doctors, (some registrars, some interns), nurses and clinical officers.  Clinical officers have a diploma in clinical medicine from the Malawi College of Health and Sciences which is based Blantyre and Lilongwe.  For the first time, we have a group made up of 50% males.

One of the topics covered on the first day is"Investigations of the breast".  Although there are some sonar machines, there is one mammogram machine in Lilongwe which is based in the private hospital.  The majority of the students have never seen a mammogram.   At the end of the day, we had a lecture about the management of wounds.  At the last minute, Dr Vanessa Msosa agreed to give the lecture and emphasised the need to consider the management of the underlying cause of the wound (breast cancer) as well as applying topical dressings.

Many thanks to all of you who have made my visit to Malawi possible.  An especial thanks has to go to Jessica Knight and her sister who have completed their gruelling Joburg2C bicycle ride.  They were one of 11 female teams who have successfully completed the race.

Jessica: I hope you are resting at home.

Dr Lily Gutnik supervising the students

Washing hands after an excellent lunch

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