Lauren Blake, MD
Lauren Blake, MD
Anesthesiology · Chapel Hill, NC

UNC Project Malawi- International Elective

February 10th
Lilongwe, Malawi

Project Description

This will be a 4-week elective that allows two resident physicians to experience how anesthesia is performed in a different country. Each day will consist of learning about the anesthetic management provided at the Kamuzu Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi and assisting in providing care. Additionally Malawi has a program of anesthesia clinical training officers, which is similar to a nurse anesthetist program, and this trip allows us the opportunity to help train the officers through lectures.

I believe this trip will make a difference because it will provide extra support to the Kamuzu Hospital, which is a resource scarce facility. Additionally, it will also allow us as resident physicians to learn how to manage anesthesia in a population with different resource allocation.

Population Served

This project will allow me the opportunity to interact with the anesthesia clinical training officers at the Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. I will spend several hours a day providing lectures to the clinical training officers teaching about the various areas of anesthesiology. This will be a mutually beneficial relationship, as I will also be able to improve my teaching skills while providing education. Additionally, I will be able to learn from the clinical training officers about how anesthesia is performed in a different country with different resource allocation.

UNC has had a long relationship with the Kamuzu Hospital in Malawi. Malawi is considered one of the poorest countries in Africa, and I am grateful to provide educational resources to this population while also learning from and about the culture of Malawi.

Expected Impact

The expected impact of this trip is to provide assistance to the clinical training officers of Malawi, while also being extra support in anesthetic care within the Kamuzu Hospital. This allows the partnership between UNC and the Kamuzu Hospital to continue, while also helping the clinical training officers become teachers once they graduate.

I also believe there is a great depth of knowledge that we will be able to bring back to our facility at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC. We are often used to providing anesthetic care with certain resources that have become standard to us. It will be of great value to learn how to perform a safe anesthetic without as many resources as the field of anesthesia often requires quick adjustment and adaption. I am eager to learn from the Malawi anesthesia providers and take what I learn and apply it throughout my anesthesia career.

Trip Photos & Recap

My international rotation in Malawi impacted me in many positive ways. It showed me a different way to practice medicine, taught me how to effectively teach with different levels of learning, and helped me grow clinically. Malawi is a beautiful country and welcomed me with kindness and a sense of appreciation I had not experienced before this trip. I found such fulfillment in teaching the 33 training anesthesia clinical officers. We participated in lecture and simulation training daily and seeing their progression truly made my heart smile. We additionally had the opportunity to teach in the operating room setting and experience very medically challenging cases. The students are very hard working and I know after graduation they will go out to their district hospitals and make such an impact. I feel honored to experience the culture of Malawi. The warm heart of Africa is such a fitting name. I hope to return one day! Thank you to Doximity for helping to make this experience possible.