While most of CMF’s programs to support the underrepresented and under-resourced health workforce are in Canada, we – like many Canadians – also want to make an impact outside of Canada where access to resources is even scarcer. Therefore, the CMF has established a medical scholarship program in Malawi.
Why Malawi? A generally peaceful country, Malawi has remained politically stable and free of both internal and external conflict since its independence in 1964, which reduces the risk for any programs we develop. However, it is one of the world’s poorest countries with a fast-growing population. The population of Malawi grew from five million in 1975 to over 20 million today and is expected to likely double by 2050.
Close to one million people in the country live with HIV, with about 34,000 new infections each year. Malawi also has a high incidence rate of malaria, with approximately 4.8 million episodes of malaria per year (332 cases annually for every 1,000 people). Even with the gains in maternal health as well as child health, 37 percent of Malawian children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Malawi faces a host of other challenges, including a healthcare system marked by significant shortages of health workers across the country.
However, even though the cost of University education in Malawi is subsidized, it is still too much of a financial burden for students from under-resourced, often rural communities. This year, CMF is partnering with AMECA to provide financial support to medical students.
Founded in 2007 by Ruthie Markus in memory of her son, Alex Coutselos, a junior doctor and serving British Army Officer, Alex’s Medical Clinic in Africa (AMECA) Alex Coutselos, a junior doctor and serving British Army Officer in 2007. AMECA supports the delivery of sustainable healthcare initiatives in Malawi, working in partnership with professionals, local organizations, and local communities to ensure that these initiatives are focused, relevant and sustainable over the long term. Since its inception, AMECA’s many contributions to the improvement of health outcomes in Malawi have included the building of a fully sustainable hospital wing at The Beit CURE International Hospital in Blantyre, constructed a Health Centre in Chilaweni, S Lunzu, together with a maternity unit, all facilities handed over to the Blantyre District Health Office. AMECA’s initiatives have also been directed toward the provision of scholarships for students of Medicine, Clinical Officer training, and Nursing in Malawi.
CMF is proud to be in partnership with AMECA to support under-resourced medical students in Malawi to achieve their dreams to become healthcare professionals and improve the health of their communities. CMF will be supporting four medical students starting this year and until they finish their studies – two future physicians and two clinical officers. Malawi has very few doctors (only one for every 88,300 people in Malawi). This means hospitals are staffed by Clinical Officers (trained for a minimum of four years), and Medical Assistants. The Clinical Officers and Medical Assistants are usually in charge of their workplace and manage any in-patient care. They diagnose, treat, and prescribe.
CMF’s support will cover tuition fees, buy a laptop for those without one, provide a bookbag (many students don’t have one), and contribute to room and boarding fees if needed.
We have committed to funding the education of up to six future healthcare workers. Your donation will help us continue that commitment until they graduate but also possibly expand this program to reach even more students.