Status: Completed response

As Malawi battled the ongoing threat from COVID-19, UK-Med sent a team of ten medical and logistics experts to support the country’s response to the pandemic and save lives. 

October 2021: Following a request for support from the Ministry of Health in Malawi, UK Med sent a team of ten medical and logistics specialists on behalf of the UK Emergency Medical Team to strengthen national healthcare teams’ knowledge and skills in three hospitals in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital for eight weeks. As of 14th October, there had been:

there have been 61,699 confirmed cases of COVID-19;

2292 people have sadly died;

and just 2.75% of the population are fully vaccinated.

Situation in Malawi

Malawi is a small, densely populated country in Southern-eastern Africa and is one of the poorest in the world, ranking 174 out of 189 on the Human Development Index. HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and malaria are common, and malnutrition is widespread.

Malawi has experienced three surges of COVID-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic. The first in July 2020, the second much more intense in January 2021 and the third in July of this year. While the capital Lilongwe and second largest city Blantyre, have been most heavily affected, the second and third waves have seen the virus spreading to the rural areas of the country.

How we helped

The team of ten led by Zimbabwean Ngoni includes specialists in public health, emergency medicine, critical care, infection prevention and control, risk communications and community engagement and logistics.

The team offered support to national health teams through training and on the job supervision in:

The clinical management of patients with all levels of COVID-19 including those who are critically ill, and with a specific focus on pregnant and lactating women and children under five who have been identified as an at-risk group in this third most recent wave.

Respiratory care and the sustainable use of oxygen in emergency departments.

Integrating COVID-19 infection prevention and control and case management procedures into day-to-day practices across each of the hospitals.

Supporting health teams to address community perceptions of the virus and vaccine hesitancy to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

With thanks to the British people via funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).