‘Of all my UK-Med deployments, designing, building and running the Lilongwe Cholera Treatment Centre has been the most impactful and rewarding work I’ve been involved with. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved. Our team has saved lives, significantly reduced the number of cholera deaths and helped build the capacity and capabilities of the local healthcare system to manage and treat cholera in the future.’
These are the words of Team Lead, David Anderson, reflecting on UK-Med’s three-month cholera crisis response in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi and the country’s most populated city.
David worked as a Divisional Director of Nursing in the NHS before joining UK-Med in 2014. To date he’s done more than 20 deployments, making him one of the longest-serving and most active members of our team.
David is one of our most active team members. Pictured in Ukraine 2022, assessing damage to a hospital.
‘While cholera has long been endemic in Malawi, this outbreak was increasing in the months prior to our arrival at the end of January 2023, with all 29 districts in the country reporting cases.
‘The death rate was far higher than it should be and from our arrival assessment, in partnership with the FCDO we recommended a cholera treatment centre to help bring the outbreak under control and support the people of Lilongwe in managing the spread and being able to access treatment.
During initial assessments in the area, David spent a morning with the Minister of Health, which proved to be a key part in the capital’s overall response. ‘The Minister’s brother is an eminent religious leader in Lilongwe, so on meeting and speaking with him about our centre and the importance of early cholera treatment, he was able to engage with people in the community.
‘This was key, as there was some resistance to seeking treatment. He helped communicate and encourage early treatment from a position of trust and authority. We know that holistic management and community engagement helps treat infectious disease outbreaks like this, and in Lilongwe this has very much proven to be the case.’
Now back in the UK, David shares some of his pictures:
We’re grateful to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for UK Aid funding from the British people to fund this life-saving response.
“The team, including logisticians, doctors and nurses, had the treatment centre built and seeing patients in just three days.”
– David, Team Lead