Stories

Medshare helps transform lives at CURE Malawi





“When I grow up I want to be a doctor, but sometimes I refuse to attend classes because my friends bully me. They call me all sorts of name like ‘chopundukacho’ (cripple). I admire my friends, Maggie, and Mama who walk normally.”

Alinafe was born a healthy baby in 2010, but when she was 5 months old, a window frame fell on her leg that led to a knock-knee deformity.

Her parents had refused to take her to hospital for religious reasons, but her granny kept insisting that they have her treated. In the early months of 2017, she was finally able to convince them to let her take Alinafe to a hospital.

“I finally convinced them to get Alinafe treated. I took her to Nkhotakota Public Hospital where we were referred to CURE. My prayer is to see my granddaughter walk freely,” Ellen said.

Alinafe arrived at CURE with her granny Ellen on a Sunday and had a simple surgery on a Thursday to straighten her leg. The doctors used the TPSS drill to break through the tibia in a wedge shape in order to straighten it. It’s a simple procedure, but it was completed with an expensive piece of medical equipment. Equipment like the TPSS drill is often supplied to CURE Malawi via MedShare.

“It’s very difficult to get equipment in Malawi and we have to go to many different countries to try to source equipment. MedShare cuts that job in half by sourcing a lot of the equipment. That means it can cover not just operating equipment in theater, but also for the wards, the pharmacy, the whole hospital. So it’s made a tremendous difference,” said Dr. Kyle James, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon.

“First, we’re saving a lot on our procurement budget. Second, we’ve received some high quality products that are much better than what we can get locally. Third, the donations contain some things that we can’t find locally at all,” said Tendai, Pharmacist.

inventorying items from MedShare

Many of the supplies received through MedShare will be used to help the hospital as a whole. Alinafe and the other children will benefit from countless “smaller” items such as gauze, casting materials, medicine, and the like. However, medical equipment is key to performing life-transforming surgical procedures

“We use a lot of power tools to straighten bent bones in children. Most of our donated equipment is many years old. Our drills are all over 10 years old, and in Africa, we make do and we repair things and keep them going, but our power tools have stood the test of time and are wearing out. In fact, we were without a power tool. This specific drill that was donated, the TPSS system, is very useful for children with small bones. We only had one of those drills in the hospital and it’s broken. So for months, we were unable to use the drill that’s designed for small children. When it came, it meant that we were able to perform operations that we couldn’t perform safely and efficiently before. It was the first item that got unpacked and it was checked out and went straight to the operating theater the next day. So, it’s been a tremendous help,” said Dr. James.

“A lot of things we received are items that are very difficult to source that go with the tools we already have. Replacing and refreshing items is one of the main things we do to keep our stock relevant, and we were able to identify little drill bits and parts that are now very worn… That means we are able to continue doing those operations without having to invest in buying an entirely new system,” said Forcina, Theater Matron.

Alinafe is just one of the many children in the hospital who has been helped by the medical equipment from MedShare.