Two Malawian trainee surgeons Takondwa Itaye-Kamangira and Wone Banda who work at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi but currently in Scotland for training, are joining a number of their Scots colleagues in a £50,000 fundraising drive to help support future medics from Malawi by going on a 51-mile cycle on Saturday.
The two Malawian trainee surgeons are in Scotland as part of the UK Government’s Medical Training Initiative to help junior doctors from around the world
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow have been supporting medical training in Malawi for a number of years and they will be teaming up with the two Malawians for the 51-mile “5 Ferry Challenge” cycle on Saturday in a bid to raise £50,000 to train future Malawian surgeons.
Acoording to a report in the Daily Record newspaper of Scotland, Wone Banda, who turns 29 on Sunday, has seen how lack of nutrition can hinder patients’ recovery in Malawi.
Wone is quoted saying: “There was a five-year-old boy who was burned from hot porridge.
“We were able to offer him early grafting. I’d see him on the ward every day and he was degenerating due to lack of nutrition.”
Some burns patients in Malawi aren’t even able to have skin grafts – because the hospital has no room for them – so their wounds have to heal on their own.
This means they’re often back in hospital later on with complications. Wone added: “We only have one operating theatre, we have to prioritise patients.
“Some patients have to wait for a wound to heal itself rather than having a skin graft because we don’t have theatre space for them.
Takondwa Itaye-Kamangira – known as TK – hopes she can save more lives in Malawi after training in Scotland.
She plans to lobby for more resources to help patients in Malawi as often treatment there can’t be completed – putting lives at risk.
TK, 35, said: “We’ve had a number of patients dying of breast cancers – some as young as 26. It’s quite frustrating at times.
“Although our hospital in Blantyre is city-based, we experience people travelling many miles for treatment. With one general surgeon and four intensive care beds, we make life-or-death decisions on who to treat.
“The incidence of breast cancer is on the increase, while awareness is low. Good education is the key for patients and surgeons.
TK said treatment is limited for breast cancer patients in Malawi.
And even though she carries out mastectomies, some patients don’t get the chance of chemotherapy afterwards.
She often wonders whether they will survive without complete treatment.
TK added: “Sometimes it’s sad – you see them coming back. It’s incomplete treatment for these women and then you’re sending them home. Plenty of time people have died.
“I remember a lady who had a mastectomy two or three years ago and then she came back as the cancer had spread. There wasn’t much we could offer her.”
Mike McKirdy, who is vice-president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, told Daily Record that with only two plastic surgeons serving the needs of 16 million Malawians, “it brings into sharp focus the value of helping clinicians such as TK and Wone to advance their careers.”
Mike, who is also a consultant general surgeon at the Royal Alexandria Hospital in Paisley, will be leading the team as they take on the “5 Ferry Challenge” around the Firth of Clyde.
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