Shaenna’s Trip to Malawi June 2022 (Part Two)

Posted in: Uncategorised, by Bridge2Aid Team, on 13th July 2022 | 0 comments

[Part one here]

On Thursday morning we met with Dr Chipanda and Dr Mukiwa to talk through our future plans for the Dental Training Programme in Malawi. Having seen the programme in Tanzania, both are keen for Medical Assistants in rural communities to be trained. Having a face-to-face meeting facilitated a very positive conversation on how best to carry this out. They also suggested that we partner with the College of Medical Sciences in Lilongwe to deliver the academic dental education module. Obviously, we will need funding and all of the appropriate Ministry approvals in place before this can go ahead.

Ministry meeting malawiFrom Dr Mukiwa’s dental surgery,  we went straight to meet with Dr  Jones Masiye. Dr Masiye is Deputy  Director of Non Communicable  Diseases and Mental Health  Clinical services for the Ministry of  Health.  It was great to be sat in his office surrounded by copies of the country’s new Oral Health Policy that was recently completed.  Dr Masiye agreed that both the  OHP training programme and the  task-shifting training of Medical Assistants represents a good  method of practically  implementing the new policy.  

After my last visit in 2019, the Medical Council approved the programme, and Dr Masiye assured  us that the Memorandum of Understanding to carry out the work would be signed over the  coming weeks. 

In the afternoon we met with our friends at CYECE (Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civil  Education). The plan is for Dr Chipanda and other members of the Dental Association of Malawi  to lead and manage the Train the Trainer programmes . However, it is important that we identify  a local NGO who can act as our implementation partner on the ground and support Dr Chipanda  and her team. It was good to see Lucky Mbewe (Executive Director at CYECE) and his team again  after our initial meeting in 2019. They were very positive about the programme and the prospect  of joining us as another local partner and we will keep in contact with them over the coming  months. 

On Friday morning, Dr Chipanda took us to meet with the new Dean of Dentistry at the Malawi College of  Medical Sciences – Mr Dowde Kajirime, and his  colleague Mr Chifundo Kaphamtengo. Both Dental Therapists and Medical Assistantsmalawi college of medical science are trained at the college. At present there are 97 Dental Therapists over the 3 years of training, with Smileawi sponsoring the training of a number of them. Unfortunately the MoH is no longer able to offer sponsorship  for Dental Therapists, so it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract new students onto the  course. Mr Kajirime explained how Medical Assistants receive 2 years of training and that there is  an element of oral health promotion within that time, but that extractions were outside of their  scope of practice. 

Both Mr Kajirime and Mr Kaphamtengo were keen to get involved in our dental training  programmes, and thought that the training would make a huge difference to the issues around a  lack of access to safe emergency care within remote and rural communities. 

After a fabulous, inspirational, motivating week we got on the plane on Friday afternoon and  started the long journey home. 

Localise”, “capacity building” and “community-led development” are buzzwords in international  development and have been around for a few years now. The concepts and values behind these  buzz words, and other words such as “partnership”, “prevention” and “power-shift” are at the  heart of the recent changes in strategy and programme focus at Bridge2Aid. After this trip I feel  confident that we are not just paying lip service to these concepts, but that they are running  through every stage of our work in Malawi.

volunteers with vertificates



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