Glasgow students host visit from Malawi
Students at Glasgow hosted a visit recently from the director of the Kamuzu College of Nursing in Malawi.
Dr Address Malata, who was in Scotland as part of a visit organised by the Scotland-Malawi Partnership, was invited to the University by nursing students who volunteer in Malawi as part of the Students for Kids International Project (SKIP).
SKIP is a healthcare-student-led UK-based charity supporting child welfare in communities throughout the developing world; Malawi is the focus of the Glasgow branch of SKIP.
The charity aims to develop and maintain sustainable, community-based projects to improve the health, education and welfare of vulnerable children, as well as developing globally and culturally-aware healthcare students who can advocate for local and international health progress as future healthcare professionals.
Each year SKIP Glasgow sends about 40 nursing, medical and dental students out each summer, in four teams, over a period of 13 weeks.
Anna Pomfret, a third year nursing student at Glasgow and one of the coordinators of SKIP Glasgow, said: “For the past three years, we have received a sizeable grant from the Chancellor’s Fund, which we distribute to the students who are volunteering.
“The students fund their whole trip themselves, through acquiring sponsorship and fundraising, as well as taking part in fundraising for the charity as a whole.
“As part of our project in Malawi, we have set up links with Kamuzu College of Nursing, KCN, which is part of the University of Malawi, and has its main campus in Lilongwe, where our project has been based.
“We have a partnership with KCN students, and last year we hosted a joint community health day at the centre we work in, where the KCN students were able to provide health advice in the local language, Chichewa.
“We learnt that Dr Malata, the principal of KCN was coming to Scotland as a guest of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, an organisation which we are members of, that works to increase links with Scotland and Malawi, so we invited her to the University.
“Nursing & Health Care hosted an event during which I gave a presentation on SKIP's work. Dr Malata then gave a presentation about nursing in Malawi, and the challenges they face. She talked about the problems KCN had, with understaffing, and poor facilities.
“She was very inspiring, and talked about how Malawi needs to work to reduce deaths from AIDs, and maternal deaths. She was pleased about our project, but suggested we could do more help in the rural areas. This is certainly something we would like to look into for our next project, and hope that Dr Malata can assist with this.
“She was extremely supportive of SKIP, and gave us her contact details so we can contact her directly. The team out in Malawi just now are contacting her to hopefully arrange another health day. I think as we look to the future of SKIP Glasgow, and moving to a new project, this meeting will prove very useful, as we are able to utilise local knowledge, in order to give help where it is needed most.”
Nursing & Healthcare is keen to support students in their work with SKIP Glasgow and is also interested in exploring partnership working opportunities with Dr Malata and KCN.
For more information contact Stuart Forsyth in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 4831 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Bottom left-right, Dr Anna O'Neill, Dr Address Malata, Professor Lorraine Smith, Margaret Sneddon, Dr Claudette Comerasamy, senior university teacher, and Dr Phil Cotton, Director of Undergraduate Education in General Practice. Top, left-right, Ashley Monaghan, Rachel Towers, Jessamine Walter, Charlie Grain, Billy Dunn, Anna Pomfret.
First published: 23 July 2010