When Dr. Britta was practicing medicine at Nkhoma Hospital, Nkhoma, Malawi, she met four men who were Clinical Officers, or Clinical Assistants, at the hospital. They knew what tests, medications, etc. were available, and assisted with translation for the patients and for her. The assistance that they provided was invaluable to providing quality patient care.
The gentlemen are intelligent and hard-working. Medica XXI, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization was formed in order to assist the four of them to obtain further medical training, including medical school if possible.
By obtaining their training in their own country, or a contiguous one, all the funds provided stayed in the local economies. Also, the men were able to work part-time during school breaks to earn extra funds for themselves and their families.
The two schools that the men attended are:
Mzuzu University: Northern Malawi. Founded in 1997. Accepted first students in 1999. Part of SARUA (Southern Africa Regional Universities Association).
Offers a Bachelors of Science degree in Health Science Education. (B.Sc.) (HSE) accomplished in 4 semesters over 2 years for mature students.
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre: Kilimanjaro Region, Moshi, Tanzania. Founded 1971. A member of the Good Samaritan Foundation, this Centre has been a referral and teaching hospital for the medical college associated as a constituent college of Tumaini University. There are 16 schools of Allied Health Sciences associated with the Medical School.
Let us introduce you to the four men who MedicaXXI has supported; and continues to facilitate their training in medical education. (Please note they use the British spelling; Dr. Britta and I typically use the American spelling).
Joseph Chilewani: Joseph has finished his training at Mzuzu University, Malawi. He has returned to work at Nkhoma Hospital, Nkhoma, Malawi. Joseph is very proficient in his surgical skills.
Asani Lida: Asani has finished his training at Mzuzu University, Malawi. He has a clinical practice in an underserved area. He wrote about his practice when he started in 2010:
“Katete hospital has a bed capacity of about 60.
It is a small hospital and now it is growing because it is under an extension programme.
This hospital is located very far from home, and approximately there is a distance of about 400km from home. I am the only clinical officer, with two medical assistants, eight nurses.
There is no medical doctor. The hospital is located to rural area.”
Savello Kafwafwa: Savel will graduate from Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, Assistant Medical Officer School, Tanzania shortly. He is currently doing extra course training in Surgical skills and Ultrasonography prior to returning to Malawi. He will also be returning to Nkhoma Hospital, Nkhoma, Malawi, where his title will be Chief Clinical Officer. As such, his job will involve: “prescribing, admitting, surgical operations including Cesarean operations, laparotomies” and other functions.
Arthur Sibande: Arthur is in his second year of his training at Mzuzu University, Malawi. He will continue to work in Malawi upon graduation.