Thomas Tanner, MD
Thomas Tanner, MD
Pediatric Emergency Medicine · Houston, TX

Pediatric emergency medical services in Malawi

June 1st
Lilongwe, Malawi

Project Description

I am a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric emergency medicine and global health fellow at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, TX. I will travel to Lilongwe, Malawi this upcoming June to provide clinical care to pediatric patients at Kamuzu Central Hospital’s (KCH) high acuity pediatric wards, the emergency zone and high-dependency unit. My presence at KCH will help bolster the shorthanded physician coverage and provide opportunities for local physician staff to take a much-needed break from everyday clinical care. In addition to working clinically at KCH, I will lead bedside teaching and skills training with medical and clinical officer interns as well as medical students, provide lectures on pediatric emergency medicine topics such as trauma and resuscitation, and collaborate with local physicians and staff on high-priority research and quality improvement initiatives happening at KCH. The difference will be made in more physician coverage for an already severely understaffed hospital in a country where there are approximately 0.02 physicians per 1000 population according to the Word Health Organization. Furthermore, the department of pediatrics will benefit from additional instruction for its learners and opportunities to collaborate on scholarly projects that will directly benefit the patients and the local staff at KCH.

Population Served

The pediatric patients, local staff, and learners at KCH will benefit from my work. I have dedicated my life to the health and well-being of children around the world because this is the population, I feel is the most vulnerable due to a lack of medical services. By not only receiving direct patient care, the patients in KCH’s pediatric ward will benefit from my project by having practitioners with further pediatric training, and they will invariably benefit from ongoing research aimed at improving patient care and outcomes.

Expected Impact

The expected impact is improved pediatric outcomes at KCH through direct patient care as well as the development of scholarly projects that will have long-term impacts on the department of pediatrics at KCH. I will be there to support local staff in their goals for quality improvement and research. Upon return to the United States, there will be ongoing correspondence with local staff as I support them in project development, implementation, data collection and analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and publication of manuscripts to aid local practitioners further progress their careers and garner more interest for pediatric care in Malawi.

Trip Photos & Recap

One of my main goals of this trip was to help educate the hardworking medical students, clinical officers, and medical officers on pediatric resuscitation skills. I lead multiple sessions with various groups of clinicians and learners at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) where we practiced high-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation and simulated real cases to better prepare the staff at KCH on how to adequately resuscitate critically ill pediatric patients. Additionally, I provided medical care to the patients at KCH as a pediatric consultant in the hospital's high dependency unit.