Eye Surgery Global Grant for St Andrews Hospital, Mtunthana Malawi.

YIPPEE…. We have received the first report regarding the eye surgery from Peter Minjale at St Andrews Hospital to Morut Isyagi of Lilongwe Rotary Club sent on 16th November 2018: In preparation for the Eye Health programme at St. Andrew’s Hospital, for three days from 7th November, 18 Health Workers from the Ntchisi District were trained to identify and manage common eye diseases, to perform primary treatment and to identify patients for referral to hospital care and surgery. The workers were also instructed in the education of the community regarding personal eye care and disease prevention.

Subsequently 240 patients attended the mobile clinic in Ntchisi – 208 were treated on site and 32 had surgical procedures, including cataract operations at St Andrews hospital on 15th November.

The MedicMalawi (MM) and Rotary Wellington story, culminating in the Global Grant for the eye surgery started in 2012 with a water project for St Andrews Hospital at Mtunthana, Malawi. Stephen Drew introduced MM to the Club as the UK funding for the hospital and orphanage. Having decided to take on the project a concert at All Saints Church, featuring Henry Olonga, Aimee Lake and Hadley Orpheus in 2013 paid for a hydrogeologist consultant to research and report on the failed water supply. The solution was to arrange a new submersible pump installation, crucially including level controls and control panel. Jim and Anne Tranter visited the site to view the installation – the pump is still working since being commissioned in July 2013. The installation contractor generously did not make a charge for the work.

Jim and Stephen had experienced the fragile electrical supply and advocated solar electrical power, which kick started our first Global Grant application for $33,000 submitted in March 2014, with The Fron Male Voice Choir Concert at All Saints in 2014 as a fund raiser. The project comprised solar photo voltaic panels with new electrical lighting and power to the hospital, orphanage and water pump. This application was declined by RI Monetary Fund in October 2014 because the project did not qualify as one of the Areas of Focus.

Monies not expended on the pump and from the failed GG- £3000, was ring fenced for MM. Wolverhampton St Georges RC later donated £300 to the GG. About this time the hospital had set up monthly eye surgeries with Dr Amos from the District Hospital performing operations. Patients were examined at village clinics where health workers gave primary eye medication and also made referrals for hospital surgery, as appropriate. 30 to 40 operations per monthly visit were carried out, but about 200 people would turn up when the news spread of the availability of treatment, medication and free spectacles. This kick started the second Global Grant. The eye surgery and treatment ticked the box of Disease Prevention as one of the RI Areas of Focus for a GG. The solar power installation was included in the application. This would support the eye surgery as a sustainable power supply and obviate the occurrence of patients being sent home with incomplete laser procedures, due to the mains power failures.

The GG application for $63800 was eventually collated and submitted in March 2017 for the solar power, 12 months eye surgery, medication, patient transport, eye clinics, training 120 health workers and a community eye health education programme. Many months of Q&A with RI Monetary Fund resulted in approval being confirmed in May 2018. The Foundation funding came from: District 1210 – $26900 (including £5000 from MM and the Club); District 9210 – $5000 and RI Matching Grant of $31900.

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