Malawian UK Nurses Association, an embodiment of like-minded Malawian nurses based in the UK, is set to hold an online conference (webinar) on Friday, January 22 aimed at demystifying wrong apprehensions of Covid-19 vaccine.
The speakers will be Dr. Maggie Nyirenda-Nyang’wa and Dr. Mas Chaponda — both specialists in immunology and infectious diseases, who are based and practising their profession in the UK.
The Malawian UK Nurses Association’s president, Charity Gladstone said in an interview with Nyasa Times that they have been inundated to organise this webinar following falsehoods about vaccine ingredients, safety, effectiveness and side-effects.
“There is general hesitancy on Covid-19 vaccine,” she said in an interview. “The reluctance or refusal of vaccine is one of the threats to global health.
“A large percentage of Malawians are what is termed as black minority ethnicity group (BAME). Evidence demonstrates that BAME are likely to get severe form of illness and likely to die,” said Gladstone.
She said the aim of the webinar is to provide credible information with regards to the virus vaccine and answer questions to allay fears so that people make informed decisions .”
Issues to be discussed include general information about Covid-19 and vaccination; pathophysiology; complications; types of vaccine and dynamics and importance of vaccination.
One of the webinar speakers, Dr. Kumwenda-Nyang’wa — who is a consultant paediatrician with specialist interest in infectious diseases, immunology and allergy — had her Covid-19 vaccine taken on January 2.
Nyang’wa said she decided to undergo the vaccine (Pfizer BioTench the mRNA) because the virus has disproportionately impacted people of black and ethnic minorities in the West — so had a risk factor of ethnicity.
“As a consultant paediatrician working in the frontline — in emergency department, wards and out-patients, I am exposed daily. I have looked after several patients with Covid-19, which is a much higher risk.
“I need the vaccine to boost my immune system to have a robust antibodies against the Coronavirus so that if I am exposed I can fight it or get a mild disease.”
Her vaccine process was captured on video and posted on social media.
She explained in an interview that the video was done because in her department they have a number of black and minority ethnicities who were reluctant to getting the vaccine.
“The video was just to encourage the people I have been encouraging all along. Lots of people at work — nurses, doctors, admin staff, clerks, receptionists and medical students — were asking me questions. So the video helped answer groups of people at once.”
In addition to her clinical/research portfolio at University Hospital Lewisham, which has focused on diagnosis and management of infectious diseases including Covid-19, Kumwenda-Nyang’wa is also a visiting lecturer in Global Child Health at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) — focussing on paediatric HIV and global child health.
Nyang’wa is from Rumphi District and says she shall finally return home as she is also an honorary visiting lecturer at College of Medicine (COM) where she teaches immunology to paeds registrars in Paediatric Department.
She also focusses on paediatric infectious diseases and immunology with COM as well as on evaluation of innovative HIV diagnostic techniques for detection of HIV infection in children in resource limited settings.
Nyang’wa is also a Malawi HIV Implementation Research Scientist Training (MHIRST) research fellow. Her research studies span the themes of global health and implementation research.
She is currently collaborating with COM’s infection and immunity team on optimization and validation of innovative point of care tests for diagnosis of COVID-19 in limited resource setting.
Malawian UK Nurses Association (MUNA) was formed in June, 2020 and registered as charitable company in September 2020 and promotes its members’ welfare by enhancing their living and working standards and act as a catalyst to achieve excellence in Nursing Education and development in the UK and Malawi.
It also contributes to a globally competitive workforce in liaison with local and international partners.
Other MUNA executive members include Patrick Vundule as vice-president; Martin Masangano and Charlotte Kamundi (secretary); Joyce M’bwana and Patricia Liyao (treasurer).
The Board of Trustees include Ellen Nkhata as chairperson, Tony Phri (financial director) and Augustine Chipungu (secretary) with other trustees as Patrick Vundule, Gladstone, Brenda Malinki, Dr. Wanangwa Namelo and Agnes Mwenifumbo
Dr. Emmie Malewezi, Tidziwe Malinki, Chifundo Makuta, Sala Kamkhosi Khulumula are in education & projects with Susan Msatida, Stella Mwanza and Clement Ndau in fundraising team.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :