Teach and assist local volunteers in providing community health support, attend HIV support groups, take part in a malaria prevention program.
Our medical volunteer project focuses on education with the aim of improving health in the community we support in the long term. The programme is divided into three parts: wound care, HIV support groups and Home Based Care training.
Mornings will be spent at practical wound care sessions, this is part of our Home Based Care training for local volunteers. You will be able to assist volunteers in correct wound dressings and advise on how to care for a wound at home, regular washing and the importance of keeping the area clean. Any severe cases are always advised to seek attention at hospitals, however in reality after the first hospital visit it can be difficult or impossible for people to return for redressing every few days due to the distance so local volunteers being able to provide this in the community addresses this problem.
In the afternoons you will alternate each day between HIV support groups and Home Based Care training groups. These sessions will take you into the heart of different villages. The Home Based Care training prepares local volunteers with the knowledge to provide a first point of support and in the longer term palliative care to patients. During these sessions you will cover a range of topics, from basic hygiene and the importance of hand washing to more detailed subjects such as first aid and how to provide palliative care to a patient. Each Home Based Care group consists of 5 male and 5 female volunteers, you will spend part of the sessions teaching and part visiting people’s homes to put theory into practice.
Two afternoons per week will be spent at HIV support groups, these exist as a non-judgemental place for patients suffering from HIV to come together in a community where people are often otherwise stigmatised. Your role in the group will adapt to what the group wants, sometimes this can be to hold a discussion group on different topics related to the illness, at other times it will be more practical provision of information and teaching of ways to alleviate side effects of the medication or the best foods to eat to provide good nutrition.
This programme is suitable for people of different levels, from those who are looking at a medical career and want to get experience prior to further education, to students and qualified doctors or nurses. How you participate in activities will depend on your level of experience. There may also be options to take part in our malaria prevention programme. Please let us know if you want to volunteer as part in the programme as a credit towards your course. It may be possible to spend time in a local clinic or hospital.
Malawi has previously been in Lonely Planet's top 5 for best in travel destinations. The project is based in a beautiful beach location in the South of Malawi, the volunteer cottage overlooks Lake Malawi. Mountainous areas and Safari destinations are within easy reach, within a few hours of our project location. It really does have something for everyone, with every budget. You can spend your weekends relaxing at the beach, diving, horse riding, kayaking to a remote island, hiking or wildlife watching. There are historic several historic sights that can be visited. You may wish to spend some weekends at the volunteer cottage, immersing yourself in the local community, getting to know the culture, walking to nearby villages, watching traditional dancing, or going to school sports tournaments.
When arriving on one of our set arrival dates you will be met at the airport by one of our coordinators and transferred to the cottage in the volunteer minibus, this is included in the programme fee. The volunteer cottage is approximately a 3.5 hour journey away. If you book to arrive outside of the usual arrival and departure dates you will need to pay for a private transfer which we will be happy to arrange for you, the cost is usually around $175.
Our accommodation is in a shared volunteer cottage overlooking Lake Malawi. You will typically be sharing with one or two other people in large shared rooms, each room is either en-suite or has a large shared bathroom. The bathrooms have western flush style toilets and standard showers. The showers may be cold but this is often refreshing and welcome at the end of a hot days volunteering.
We provide three meals per day and are able to cater to most dietary requirements if notified in advance. Breakfast typically consists of toast, pancakes or eggs and tea or coffee. Lunch consists of sandwiches or pasta and a hot main meal is prepared in the evenings. The cook at the cottage prepares food to a high standard but bear in mind that ingredients can be limited so there may not be a wide variety of choice on offer. Meals whilst on weekend excursions are not included.