I will be working as part of a team of clinicians helping to train providers in Malawi on cancer care pathways, chemotherapy administration and continuing our capacity building efforts around cancer research and implementing cancer care protocols for common cancers in the area, especially HIV-associated malignancies such as Kaposi sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
We will be working in the central referral hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi which is a public hospital with comprehensive care that is free at the point of service. This is therefore serving the general public.
We expect the impact to be significant as Malawi is planning to open a brand new Malawi National Cancer Center in December, 2019 and will therefore be seeing more and more cancer patients requiring more and more sophisticated cancer care over time. There is currently only a very small clinic in the hospital serving all of the patients for the northern half of the country (about 9 million people). With the opening of the new cancer center, the plan is to centralize most cancer care for the entire country. Therefore, capacity building and pathway building for a country with only two oncologists in the entire country (both of whom are actually trained in radiation oncology, not medical oncology) is essential and our organization has had ongoing assistance in this area for many years and plans to continue the same for many years to come.
During this 6 week trip, I felt I was able to make a great impact by seeing cancer patients and progressing forward on cancer research projects in Lilongwe, Malawi. I feel truly blessed to have received this travel aid for this trip.