Sheffmed is proud to support Malawi’s national development plan for ear care. Through regular visits to the region, we are able to assess and respond to the needs for equipment and training. It is our long-term goal to ensure this project succeeds and can be replicated in other African countries.
Since our first involvement 4 years ago, which started with the donation of instruments and equipment, we have developed the project to support education and training in Malawi. As a commercial business, we know that healthcare development in poor countries – which have very limited services and resources – relies on significant and lasting change from nurses and surgeons.
Working in collaboration with NHS Fife and Bradford Royal Infirmary, our role is one of support and awareness, providing essential equipment to raising much needed funding, and we have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our customers.
Sheffmed’s involvement in Malawi has a very personal origin – our Sales Director Alan grew up there. In 2015 the country had only one dedicated ENT Consultant, Dr. Wakisa Mulwafu, who was based in Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city. He alone had to care for more than sixteen million people.
It was at this time that during a customary visit to NHS Fife, Alan learned of their intention to provide support to Malawi’s only ENT clinic. He offered to fund a planned reconnaissance trip by the hospital’s staff in February 2016 to assess what was needed in Blantyre.
This began a programme of support and exchanges that has helped developed Malawi’s ENT services, culminating in the Ungweru Project. Ungweru means ‘hope in the light’ in the native Chewa language of the indigenous Bantu people. The project is a collaboration with St Andrews University Global Health Network, Glasgow College and the Scottish Government’s Scotland Malawi Partnership.
“Due to the success of recent fundraising campaigns in the run up to the year-end in 2018, we received a significant number of donations in December and through in to January, thanks to the generosity of donors like yourself. We are very grateful to you and our community of alumni and friends for this valued contribution to the Ungweru Project at the University of St Andrews.”
Sally Walker, Development Assistant (Gift Operations), University of St Andrews
Kent Kaonga is a Malawian Clinical Officer who has worked in ENT since 2014. He studied at the Malawian College of Health Sciences and the University of Pretoria, where he studied Hearing Aid Acoustics, sponsored by Starkey Hearing Foundation. Now a volunteer with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, Kent is dedicated to improving ENT care in Africa. Specialising in Otoscopy, Kent strives to give people the gift of hearing across Malawi and its neighbouring countries.
Sheffmed has supplied Kent with critically important equipment, which has allowed him to access rural areas where healthcare services are limited or non-existent. Kent long-term goal is to begin teaching clinical skills in district hospitals, where ENT services are scare.