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Ameca Healthcare Clinic

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.

On the 8th of May, The AMECA Primary Healthcare Clinic at Chilaweni; was opened by The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Peter Kumpalume. (Read the newsletter……..)

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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.

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In response to this request, AMECA set out to construct a rural clinic to deliver primary health care together with local community health education at Chilaweni, South Lunzu. The facility would be staffed and run by the Blantyre District Health Office, thereby providing long-term sustainability for this facility. AMECA provided 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 was actively engaged in the consultation process and was fully involved during the clinic build. AMECA looks forward to working over the long term with this active and motivated community; their enthusiasm and positive outlook provided us with much optimism for the success of the healthcare clinic.

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The current community of around 22,000 people had 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.

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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. Formerly, the communities do not even receive visits from mobile clinics or any health visitors.

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The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Private Secretary to Health, Dr. Magwira at Capital Hill, Lilongwe in September 2015.

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In May 2016, the Foundation stone for the AMECA Clinic at Chilaweni was laid by The Minister for Health, Dr Peter Kumalume.

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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 was at an adavnced satge. The building contractor, S R Nicholas has achieved a very high stand of build, on time and within budget…………

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In October 2016, a group of 7 junior doctors visited Malawi to undertake a pilot survey of maternal health challenges in the 11 villages that form the catchment area for the clinic. Reports of their visits can be viewed on the LAST website. A presentation of their initial findings at the National GP ACF Conference won first prize. GP ACF Conference Certificate

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……………

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AMECA took delivery of a Toyota Hilux ambulance in early 2017. Purchased through Toyota Malawi, the ambulance was handed over to the Blantyre District Health Office at the opening ceremony, with the proviso that it is a dedicated ambulance for use at The AMECA Clinic.

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Work continued on finishing painting and fitting out the interior of the clinic and staff housing. A solar powered borehole was constructed and AMECA arranged and paid for mains power to be brought to the village.

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Just prior to the official opening of the clinic, the first patient was treated……… a small boy with Malaria.

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In June, the clinic saw its first emergency birth; mother and baby girl named Ruth are doing well.

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The Milestones:

A local artist was commissioned to paint the murals on the walls.

In may 2017, ESCOM mains power was delivered to Chilaweni; the community has never had the benefit of mains electricity in the village.

Attended by a few thousand people,  the press, radio stations and TV reporters, the clinic opened on May 8th 2017. It is now fully operational and fully staffed.

The first emergency birth was recorded on June 11th 2017. A baby girl, safely delivered, was named Ruth. Without the clinic, in all likelihood the mother might have given birth on the road, with probable tragic consequences for both mother and child.

 

 

Future Plans

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, but as yet, this initiative is at an embryonic stage.

In Phase Two of this project, AMECA intends 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, with additional funding for extra staff housing.

 

 

 

 

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