Assist at local hospitals and clinics in Malawi to support the health of the local community.
About the Program
This diverse medical volunteer project has huge potential to improve the
level of primary health care that is currently provided in the rural
communities in Malawi. The project focusses on improving the health care
through education and awareness, as well as supporting medical
treatment. Volunteers with different levels of experience and knowledge
can be of great importance in assisting either in community work or
within resourced medical clinics.
Experience in the medical field is not a pre-requisite for this project. However, only medical professionals and medical students may be registered with Medical or Nursing Council to assist at a local rural hospital as part of their programme. The hospital placement is most relevant to medical students, wishing to gain some additional hospital experience during their programme or as part of their elective; nurses specifically wishing to spend some of their time in a hospital environment; or midwives on a maternity ward. We recommend 6 weeks minimum for qualified nurses/midwives who wish to register (due to the additional 1 week orientation involved), but nurses also find the outreach areas particularly rewarding.
Volunteer tasks will be dependent on experience, interests and the greatest need at the time. Qualified volunteers can split their time between these various tasks, or specialize in one area of interest & experience. Please communicate your interests & experience to our project leaders in advance of your arrival to create a personalized schedule for your volunteer stay. Volunteers will always be under the supervision of local professionals and have 24-hour support from their project leader. Below are various areas where volunteers’ help will be needed:
Based on a government curriculum and supported by our experienced translators, volunteers will plan and run training sessions to groups of local volunteers on home-based care topics, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention, personal hygiene, drug administration, recording information, basic first aid, wound care, bed bathing, infection prevention, sexual health awareness, nutrition and digestion, TB and rehabilitation. Furthermore, you will carry out home visits to chronically ill patients. These visits are a valuable part of the training for the local volunteers to become home-based care providers.
Volunteers will be involved in cleaning wounds, basic dressing and bandaging, and referring patients to hospital for more serious wounds, or if further treatment or antibiotics are required. This is of great importance in areas where wounds would otherwise go unattended, often resulting in serious infection
Help create and increase the awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS, in order to educate local communities about prevention and treatment. Volunteers will also provide support and counseling through community groups for those living with HIV/AIDS. This may also include nutritional advice and information about other related diseases. Furthermore, volunteers will help encourage and assist with drama workshops and presentations by those living with HIV/AIDS to the communities in surrounding villages
Rural Community Hospital
This part of the project work is suited for volunteers with previous medical experience, medical professionals, or medical students, as the centre provides primary medical care and treatment. The centre we work in has several departments in which volunteers with relevant experience can assist, including outpatients, a female ward, a male ward, a maternity ward, a nutrition unit, a laboratory, a pharmacy, and basic dental treatment.
Qualified volunteers will assist the local nurses and doctors in their daily duties. This may include midwifery, ward rounds, cleaning and dressing wounds, minor medical procedures, etc. Certain lab technician experience is also available. This may include carrying out vital tests, such as haemoglobin, malaria, syphilis, and pregnancy. Less experienced medical students will have the opportunity to shadow local nurses or doctors and assist with more administrative duties, but will gain a valuable insight into medical care and treatment of tropical and infectious diseases in a developing country.
Malaria Prevention and Awareness
This part of the project includes assisting with malaria prevention techniques, providing education and creating awareness to help minimize the incidence rate. Furthermore, you will be conducting valuable malaria data collection and distribute mosquito nets and spray to the local homes. Unfortunately, this initiative comes with high material costs. This means that this part of the project is not ongoing and involvement is occasional, as it is dependent on available funding. If you would like to raise funds or make a donation to this specific program, it will be gratefully received.
Nurseries for Orphan & Vulnerable Children
This part of the project takes place in the mornings and is suitable for volunteers with little medical experience, or anyone with an interest in pre-school education and child care. Volunteers can get involved with pre-school teaching to prepare the children for their education ahead. Furthermore, by helping the local caregivers improve their English and teaching skills, volunteers will help promote the importance of health and nutrition, including assisting with our feeding scheme.
You will be involved in morning and afternoon volunteer activities 5 days per week, with Friday afternoon off to allow travel time for those going on weekend excursions. Hours vary a little between projects and season, due to temperatures etc. However, you should expect to spend between about 5-7 hours at activities each day. During your free time at lunch and evenings, you are also likely to need to spend some time planning sessions and activities to ensure they are well organised and of value.
During free time, volunteers can relax at the volunteer house, swim in the sparkling waters of Lake Malawi, and explore the local area. Weekend trips can be organized by the project staff. Some exciting places you can visit include: Liwonde National Park-Offers a variety of wildlife and large herds of elephant, where you can enjoy the combination of a vehicle safari, walking safari, and boat safari in search of the numerous hippo in the rivers. Cape Maclear-A popular tourist village at the edge of the lake. Enjoy snorkeling, boat rides on Lake Malawi, exploring the craft stalls, and sunbathing on the beach during the day. In the evening there are a couple of lively bars to let your hair down. Zomba Plateau-Is a cool forest where you can relax, take in the great views, trek, and even go horse riding if you wish. *Although organized weekend excursions are not included in the program price, we do recommend doing a couple of these group trips during your stay. This way you will be able to see a little more and make the most of your time in Malawi.
You need to arrange your flights to arrive at Lilongwe Airport in Malawi prior to 2pm on the date specified. Upon arrival, you will be met by a project representative and will be transferred to the project, which is about three and a half hours drive from the airport. If you cannot find our representative, please wait at the information desk & give us a call if there is more than a 15 minute delay.
Volunteers will stay in a comfortable, shared house in a rural village in the Mangochi District. The volunteer house is located on the shores of the stunning Lake Malawi. The volunteer house area (and Malawi in general) is very safe; however, the house is fenced and gated for additional security and privacy. The bedrooms in the volunteer house are large shared rooms (2–4 volunteers per room), generally with single or bunk beds. Bathrooms all consist of western style flush toilets and showers.
Three meals a day are provided: Breakfast usually consists of french toast, eggs, porridge or pancakes, and tea and coffee. Lunch usually consists of sandwiches, pasta, soups, wraps, or similar; or a packed lunch can be provided if you are not returning to the house in the middle of the day. Dinner will be a hot meal prepared for you by our cook. *Please let us know of any dietary requirements in advance.