Village Home Visits

On the final day of training, the volunteers were split up into two groups to travel to the villages and visit a community patient.  The first group, led by Carolyn and Elisa, helped a patient presenting with unilateral weakness. The second group, led by Dr. Nesbit and Kristen, assisted a patient with lower extremity paralysis. The volunteers were able and eager to apply their knowledge of physical therapy with assistance from the physical therapy students. We were so proud that they were sharing their skills with the patient and caregivers and independently documenting the visit. Also, we were surprised by how many people could fit into a small room for treatment. As you can see in the picture below, Carolyn and Elisa were squished into a small room with 20 people, including volunteers and family (only half are viewed in the picture). Though the students may have felt crammed, the Malawians showed no indication of claustrophobia as we shuffled around the room while walking with the patient. The highlights of the last day of training were being able to help the patients and their families and to see the volunteers proudly use and share their skills.  The question for the future is…what next?  Will the community health workers continue to apply the physiotherapy skills they learned in training in their villages?  How will we be able to spread home-based physiotherapy throughout Malawi in a sustainable fashion?  This is the first of hopefully many physiotherapy trainings for palliative care throughout this country. Pictured below are the first volunteers to receive a certificate for training in physiotherapy for palliative care.

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