LION Update - September 2023
07 September 2023 (Last updated: 7 Sep 2023 17:22)
The 5 year BSSH-LION project is now in its 8th month, with 22 BSSH/BAHT volunteers having contributed their valuable time and energy helping the local team to begin to set up a Hand Unit in Lilongwe as well as supporting the on-going wider BSSH Malawi project and strengthening links with Blantyre under the guidance of the BSSH Global Partnerships Committee.
After months of anticipation, the T&O Services have finally moved across from Kamuzu Central Hospital into the new LION building. The physical move has presented its own unique and sometimes frustrating challenges for the whole team, such as intermittent lack of running water, missing equipment etc - but overall the relocation has been positive and the team on the ground have been busy developing the future hand service site and weekly timetable.
There will now be increased access to MSK theatres, increased clinic space and 24/7 radiology services in brand new facilities. However, as expected, basic resources in Malawi remain incredibly scarce, which has sometimes been difficult for the volunteers to adjust to. Essential kit is often lacking despite everyone’s best efforts and there are not yet enough anaesthetic and middle grade doctors to fully staff the service - but more doctors (especially anaesthetists) and more nurses are being recruited. Every day baby steps are being made towards the final goal of creating a sustainable and first class hand surgery service for the people of Malawi.
We are extremely grateful to all our volunteers, without whom this project would not happen. Each volunteer has left their own mark on the project. Many continue to be involved in our future plans - supporting colleagues with the weekly MDT zoom and clinical decision making as well as with the day-to-day practicalities of living in Lilongwe. These include Andrea Jester, who has made great progress developing links to create a Paediatric Hand Service in Malawi, and Sean Walsh, who is working hard to improve, sustain and keep track of the equipment available. Fundraising remains a vital part of the project and we’d especially like to thank Osteotec Ltd who have chosen BSSH LION as their main charity in this, their 30th anniversary year. Their exciting BOLOS (BSSH/Osteotec Lake Of Stars) Challenge - to run, cycle, swim, row and sail across or around the equivalent distance of Lake Malawi - has already been ‘accepted’ by many BSSH/BAHT individuals and already a few Hand Unit Teams are starting to compete against each other for podium positions.
As always, the more BSSH/BAHT members that join in with this fun challenge, the merrier - so please get together with your wider MDT this Autumn and create a fundraising team on our JustGiving page (find out how to set up a team on JustGiving). Both your commuting and recreational miles count towards our joint goal, as we continue to raise awareness and more importantly funds to support the on-going costs of this incredible project.
The challenge will be celebrated by Osteotec Ltd and BSSH/BAHT members at the BOLOS Charity Dinner on Saturday 2nd December at Oakley Hall near Newbury – tickets £100. For more information about the evening or to book tickets, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions regarding volunteering or fundraising – please contact email@example.com
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