Patrick, Madhvi, and Lauren reported to me about their progress at Kasina Health Center. Malawian Family Medicine Resident, American Global Health Fellow, and Dutch Medical Student went together to the small health facility a few villages away. The health center was struggling to care for patients with high blood pressure, because the medical assistants who staffed the clinic did not feel like they had enough training or experience to manage newly arising or complicated cases. They asked if Dr. Patrick would visit often and help run a blood pressure clinic for them. But I had been mentoring my resident about boundaries, realistic expectations, and professionalism. So instead of committing to an ongoing partnership that would lead the health center toward dependency on him, Dr. Patrick decided to lead them toward a collaboration that would help them develop capacity far into the future. We had a plan to bring teaching for the clinicians and the patients, protocols and methods for referrals. Some of the work we had already completed at Diamphwe, another nearby health center, meant that many of these tools were already prepared, and soon we would have the forms ready for Kasina, with potential thereafter to replicate in over a dozen nearby health centers. Our residents had some of their first opportunities to become leaders in healthcare systems and advocates in their communities. Our visiting doctors and students were able to work together with the Malawian doctors in a way that broadened their vision of Global Health and led toward sustainable improvements in the future.
As for me and Greg, this new year is just bursting with opportunities. The hospital received funding to implement rigorous blood pressure screening and treatment interventions at Nkhoma and beyond, a program that I am passionate about and from which I have already started seeing benefits. The fledgling Nkhoma Research Ethics Committee has six research proposals to consider and move along, which should keep us busy for a long time to come. And we have an opportunity to be involved in starting Community Health Evangelism programs in a new and very under-served area. Greg is not only teaching Systematic Theology at NTCCA, but has started teaching a similar course at Josephat Mwale Theological Institute (NMTI) at Nkhoma. He has also been asked to preach to a large church this Sunday and teach an intensive course of course of study next weekend for working pastors who cannot attend school full-time.
We are sleeping and resting so much better now that we have moved to a different house. The space that has been a blessing to us has already started blessing our community as well as we host Bible studies, tea parties, mentorship time, and even an afternoon of painting on the back porch. The house is a bit older, so it is also keeping us busy as we work on water, plumbing, and electricity issues, but we are so happy for the space, peace, and potential for fellowship that we are happy for the few side projects.
This month, please join us in prayer: - Praising God for a restful holiday in Capetown, a fresh start this year, and a beautiful new home - For wisdom as we embrace new opportunities in community health and teaching, that we won’t commit to too much too soon - For a productive and balanced month in February as I have 3 visiting Family Medicine Residents from American helping me with sustainability and prevention projects
Thank you for your prayers and support, - Greg and Christina