To our surprise, the sun came up at 5 and the roosters started crowing so we decided to start our morning early. We first attended a meeting with the medical staff at St. Gabriel’s Hospital to discuss the statistics and important information for each ward. After taking a tour of the hospital, we were then introduced to the Palliative Care unit where we attended rounds. We were able to help evaluate two patients and the doctor and nurse both valued our opinion in terms of what the patient’s underlying issues were and what things they could do to get better. We helped to get a patient out of bed and walk to assess his functional level post-stroke. The medical staff seemed very well trained and educated about general medicine, but as far as Physical Therapy, their knowledge was limited. Aside from a language barrier, the thing we found most difficult was tracking the sequence of events that led to the patient’s condition. They tended to tell parts of the story in no particular order which made it more challenging to evaluate.
We had a long break so we explored to the nearby areas such as the school and church. We ran into a lot of kids that were excited to see white people, or as they like to call us, “azungus”. They followed us asking us to take pictures of them so they could see themselves (as you can see below). In the afternoon, we prepared for our training session of the Community Health Workers that we will be presenting over the next three days. The Director of National Palliative Care Association of Malawi and the Home Based Care Coordinator of Lilongwe will be attending to observe and learn about physical therapy in order to implement some of these techniques country-wide. It’s going to be a busy three days of training but we are looking forward to it and can’t wait to update you on the events that happen in the following days.