We are so thankful to report that we just finished two successful medical outreaches in Malawi. Herewith just some brief feedback;
The Doctors For Life International (DFL) teams camped at both places and each area offered its own challenges. The first outreach was near Mangochi (at the southern tip of lake Malawi). At first it was a challenge getting enough patients but the local tribal chiefs were very supportive and even brought patients to us!
In total we saw about 725 eye patients. We did about 34 eye surgeries (cataract, trachoma and even cancer removals), treated 220 with eye drops and 267 received free reading and distance eye glasses. Dr Theunis Botha was the eye specialist and Miss Sandra Grunewald the ophthalmic nurse. Mrs Angelika Bohmer was the general nurse and microbiologist Mr Pieter Bos assisted with sterilization. Local Malawi medical staff also assisted. The school grounds where the team had to camp were especially open for health education sessions. Hundreds of children surrounded our campsite!
The second area where we worked was more to the south in the Phalombe district, Mambala, on the eastern border of Malawi and Mozambique. We worked there last year as well. The local Member of Parliament, the honourable MP Dennis Phiri gives us his full support in this remote and needy area. Dr Bruce Philips was the eye specialist and he was joined by his wife Nikki who assists him in his private practice. Miss Grunewald stayed on for the 2nd outreach as well, working with Dr Philips in the theatre. A total of 38 surgeries were performed under challenging conditions. Mr Bekanese, a Malawian ophthalmic technician also assisted at times. It was very hot and the temperature outside reached 40 degrees Celcius at times.
We mostly did cataract surgery at the second place but in addition to the eye work the second team was also joined by dentist Dr Herbert de Graaf who pulled 345 teeth in one week! He also screened about 317dental patients. On the final evening the dental team worked until 11pm and even Dr Philips helped some dental patients with sutures after he was finished with the eye operations. About 200 patients received eye glasses and about 100 were helped with eye drops and medication. The community was extremely thankful and open to DFL’s help in the region.
The medical work also opened new doors for sharing the love of Christ in these needy regions. Devotions were held before the start of the clinics each day and was received with open arms. Many children also attended the meetings at the schools where the teams camped.
Lastly, we are making plans to move a specially designed mobile clinic to Malawi to start our second permanent clinic (our first one was started in Zavora Mozambique back in 2003). We plan to use the mobile clinic in Malawi, a large 4 ton unit pulled by a truck that was donated by medical Mission International, until we obtain sufficient funds to construct a building there also. We have been allocated land in a remote area called Chikuluma, near the Lewonde National Park. Our first step is to register DFL in Malawi and the process is underway. We are not sure how long this will take but we hope it won’t take too long!
Thank you to all who joined hands with us with on this Malawi medical outreach. Your contribution made a huge difference to the lives of the many people who can see again and the positive influence it has on whole communities.