UK-Med sends team to support Malawi with its ongoing battle to fight COVID-19

Monday 18 October: A team of ten medical and logistics specialists have been sent to Malawi to support the Malawian Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 response as part of the UK Emergency Medical Team (EMT).

The team will support national staff in up to three hospitals for eight weeks in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital. Over the following weeks, they will:

focus on the management of critically ill COVID-19 patients and the care of pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five – all who have been identified as at-risk groups in the most recent third wave of the pandemic;

work with health care teams to address misinformation and myths around COVID-19 and to support community engagement with the national COVID-19 vaccination effort;

provide remote rehab support by an eleventh member of the team; including managing breathlessness, weaning from oxygen and rehabilitation support to prevent further deterioration and complications.

The team of eleven includes specialists in public health, emergency medicine, critical care, infection prevention and control, risk communications and community engagement and logistics. They will be building on the work that other EMTs have provided in the country already, specifically around the terms of guidelines and standards and the way to assess and improve compliance.

UK-Med Team Lead Ngoni says: “On behalf of the UK Emergency Medical Team, our team of highly qualified experts look forward to supporting national healthcare teams to attend to critically COVID-19 patients, and to develop their capabilities to ensure the impact of this response lasts well beyond the time we are in Malawi.”

Thankfully, case numbers in this third wave of COVID-19 to hit Malawi are now coming down, following spikes in numbers of cases in July 2020 and more intensely in January 2021.

According to reports from UNICEF this third, most recent wave has seen a shift in the virus affecting those living in rural areas and young people aged 18 -35.  The increase of cases of pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five have been of particular concern.

In addition to supporting the case management of critically ill patients, teams will also be looking to support the sustainable use of oxygen which is vital in the treatment of patients COVID-19.

Malawi in Southern-eastern Africa is ranked 174 out of 189 on the Human Development Index and is one of the poorest countries in the world.

We’ll post more updates from the team on our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) as the response develops.

We’re grateful to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for UK Aid funding from the British people to fund this important response.

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