The AMECA Healthcare Clinic at Chilaweni
The AMECA Primary Healthcare Clinic is dedicated to the memory of Alex Coutselos, a junior British Army doctor, who died in May 2006.
In May 2016, the Foundation stone for the AMECA Clinic at Chilaweni was laid by The Minister for Health, Dr Peter Kumalume.
Here is the story:
AMECA believe that any initiative should be community led, rather than charity led; communities are in the best position to identify and prioritise their needs. With this in mind, AMECA met with the community leaders and village elders at Chilaweni in September 2014, to discuss their current concerns. The traditional authority expressed its unanimous desire for healthcare provision for their communities.
In response to this request, AMECA is currently constructing a rural clinic to deliver primary health care together with local community health education at Chilaweni, South Lunzu. The facility will be staffed and run by the Blantyre District Health Office, thereby providing long-term sustainability for this facility. AMECA is providing the clinic building, staff accommodation, all equipment and an ambulance. We look forward to a long-standing and close relationship with the local health department and also to an ongoing presence at Chilaweni, through our fundraising challenges.
AMECA has been working with Joshua Orphan & Community Care at Chilaweni via our fundraising challenges and the village communities have been very positively engaged with our students and fundraising groups. The local community has actively engaged in the consultation process and is fully involved during the clinic build. AMECA looks forward to working with this active and motivated community; their enthusiasm and positive outlook provide us with much optimism for the success of the future healthcare clinic.
The current community of around 22,000 people have no current access whatsoever to any accessible health facilities or medical care. The local community identified community land for use by The Blantyre Department of Health.
The Chilaweni area is comprised of ten surrounding villages; even if emergency cases could be transported the 15 Km by road to the nearest health facility, unfortunately this lies outside of the catchment area for free service level agreements. Currently the communities do not even receive visits from mobile clinics or any health visitors.
Building commenced towards the end of May 2016; by the end of August, the three staff houses had been nearly completed and the clinic building is at an adavnced satge. The building contractor, S R Nicholas has achived a very high stand of build, on time and within budget…………
October through to December 2016 brought stunning progress on the project; AMECA is overwhelmed by the quality of the build and by the emergence of a really attractive clinic and staff housing; the photos speak for themselves……………
AMECA took delivery of a Toyota Hilux ambulance in early 2017. Purchased through Toyota Malawi, the ambulance will be handed over to the Blantyre District Health Office on completion of the clinic, with the proviso that it is a dedicated ambulance for use at The AMECA Clinic.
In February 2017, The Blantyre District Health Officer, Dr Matchaya and management staff visited the almost completed AMECA Clinic at Chilaweni this week. Dr Matchya spoke to the Chiefs and Village Heads of the catchment villages which will be served by the new clinic.
The future clinic staff team were also present and everyone was really excited about the progress that has been made. Work continues on finishing painting and fitting out the interior of the clinic and staff houosing. A borehole is currently being constructed and mains power will be brought to the village by AMECA shortly.
Progress to date
- The Traditional Authority (TA) signed a letter authorising community land to be made available to The Blantyre District health Office, for use as a healthcare clinic.
- The Department of Health in Lilongwe was notified; architect plans were drawn up and after some amendments, the plans have were accepted as fit for purpose.
- A Memorandum of Understanding between AMECA in the UK, AMECA Healthcare in Malawi and the Department of Health, was signed on Capital Hill in September 2015.
- The TA has marked out the perimeter of the designated clinic and staff accommodation land with concrete markers in a small ceremony in November 2015.
- Full VAT and Import Duty tax exemptions were granted for this project by The Malawi Revenue Authority, saving the charity thousands of pounds.
- The Foundation Stone for the clinic was laid by The Minister for Health on May 3rd, 2016.
- May 2016……… Building commenced.
- The remainder of the year saw the rapid progress of the clinic and staff housing on site.
- January 2017 saw test drilling take place for the borehole which iis being provided for the clinic.
- By the begiining of February, the interior of the clinic and housing was being painted and fitted out with shelving, cupboards etc.
- By the start of March, the bore hole has almost been completed and final finishes are being undertaken.
AMECA will provide further updates as the project progresses and needless to say, fundraising is ongoing!! The Chilaweni communities have been involved throughout and everyone is very excited about their healthcare clinic…………..
Southampton School of Health Sciences is looking at the possiblity of using the AMECA Clinic for student nursing electives; this would be a very exciting development; academic staff from The School of Nursing will be visiting the clinic in August 2017, in order to risk assess the site. AMECA intend to construct a volunteer block for students and other clinical visitors, at Chilaweni, subject to funding availability.
In Phase Two of ths project, AMECA is looking to construct a much-needed Maternity Unit for the clinic. The charity is currently looking at plans for this phase, in order to be able to cost this initiative. It is thought that an amount of about £150,000 will be required for the maternity unit.
The community at Chilaweni; marking out the borders of the land.
Signing The Memorandum of Understanding with Private Secretary to Health, Dr. Magwira at Capital Hill, Lilongwe in September 2015.
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