25 Nov Medic Malawi Newsletter November 2018
“Our soft spoken Surgeon” : The following recent story about Dr Amos Nyaka is from the Daily Times of Malawi . You may well recognise Amos’ name – he is my friend and ex-student, now eye surgeon, who makes regular visits to St Andrew’s for our monthly eye surgery programme . This episode did not take place at St Andrew’s, but is typical of his character and expertise.
Surgeon uses cell phone light in theatre operation
Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) surgeon Amos Nyaka swiftly turned to ‘plan B’ when a power outage plunged an eye theatre into darkness in the middle of a delicate operation he was performing on a patient in Lilongwe on Thursday.
The surgeon quickly asked a trainee clinical officer to use his cell phone’s in-built flashlight, enabling him and his team to continue with the operation.
Many people were both stunned and impressed
When traced to his KCH Eye Department on Friday, the surgeon said: “The blackout came after we had already started operating on the patient’s eye, who had a condition known as glaucoma—an irreversible cause of blindness. The procedure was to minimise the progression of eye damage.
“We had to act fast because, otherwise, the patient could lose his vision.”
The soft-spoken surgeon said he should not take any praise alone.
“On a daily basis, many other theatre personnel use creative ways in overcoming technical challenges to save patients, particularly in critical departments like the ICU [intensive care unit], HDU [high dependency unit] and the paediatric sections,” he added.
He said the eye department used to have its own generator but it developed faults and has not been in use for a while.
In an interview, Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said Nyaka exemplifies the professionalism and passion medical cadres have to save people’s lives despite challenges in their work.
The eye department is one of the busiest sections at KCH, with some 200 patients attended to daily. On average, surgeries constitute about 10 percent of the cases
How typical of ‘our soft spoken surgeon’ not to ‘take any praise alone’ , and how typical too of the resourcefulness and quick thinking which our Malawian partners show, amid great difficulties.
But this is not the only story of Eye Surgery success recently. We have, with the support of Rotary International, been able to start training and awareness programmes in local areas.
The intention is that nurses and junior clinicians can be trained in identifying eye disease, and begin to have training in dealing with it too. Some may progress to being able to deal with cataracts themselves. The first training was in Ntchisi . At the same time patients were screened for treatment and surgery which was followed by surgery at St Andrew’s last week. Next month the training programme is to be in Dowa, and again patients will be identified for surgery treatment, but also helped in many other ways with a variety of eye treatments and assistance.
Training in progress :
The programme involves training in practical work (above),
and also theoretical preparation of groups (below)
“Thank you to all who made my eyes to see again”
But above all, the work is for individuals:
This is from a report by Peter Minjale at St Andrew’s
“This is Rose Mpamba , wh is 53 years old from Moto Vilage , Ntchisi district. She had been totally blind from cataract in both eyes for one year. She could not work. She could not look after herself. She felt a burden to her children. Her children looked after her.
She can now see totally .
She was one of 32 operations performed in one day November 15 2018”
The Power of Giving
Thank you for the power of your giving, which makes all this possible. Thank you also for your messages of goodwill following my email about the structure and leadership of Medic Malawi itself. For the time being we continue as we are. You will receive newsletters from me, and please write to me with any questions or ideas. But the Trustees will continue to think about the future, and how best to organise the charity, with your help, to serve the people of Mtunthama District. Thank you.