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Race to Malawi! LSTM Virtually Fundraises for COVID-19 Fight in Malawi

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Race to MalawiLiverpool School of Tropical Medicine’s (LSTM) Centre for Snakebite Research and Interventions (CSRI) has come up with a novel idea to support LSTM’s COVID-19 Response and Resilience Fund with a Race to Malawi Challenge.

 

This virtual fundraising event, which will be launched on Tuesday 5 May as part of Giving Tuesday Now, a global initiative, challenges teams to walk, jog or cycle the 8,268km from Liverpool to Malawi by collectively logging their daily (socially distanced) exercise.

 

According to the event’s organisers Dr Rachel Clare and Charlotte Dawson, the fundraising is a great opportunity to maintain team morale, support employee wellbeing and to raise money for a great cause.


Dawson said “The idea for this came from Colonel Tom Moore's amazing feat - we felt inspired to try and doing something to raise money and then it grew into covering the distance to Malawi! We wanted to raise money for the Response and Resilience Fund as strengthening healthcare capacity for our partners is not only vital during the COVID-19 crisis, but also for the future.”

 

According to LSTM’s fundraising manager Stacey Lavery, the initiative has raised £7,136 so far.

 

LSTM’s COVID-19 Response and Resilience Fund was launched to create vital funds that will support Malawi’s health system, enable more cutting-edge research to fight the pandemic now, and to help build resilience for the future.

 

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MLW’s response to COVID19

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With the announcement of confirmed cases of COVID19 in Malawi, the country entered a new phase in the epidemic, which has affected almost the entire globe.


In these uncertain times, MLW has paused almost all its research work, with the exception of a few studies that offer clear clinical benefit to participants, for example to patients with cryptococcal meningitis.


Instead, for the foreseeable future, MLW’s objectives are to:

  1. Keep staff and their families safe by prevention of infection at MLW – to this end MLW is closed to all except key workers essential to the COVID19 effort, who are all working with full appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for their setting and task; the rest of our staff are working from home.
  2. Keep MLW’s existing skills, structures and resources working and intact, so we can help with clinical and public health response to COVID19

a) is continuing to support essential clinical services, such as the diagnostic microbiology laboratory for blood cultures and cerebrospinal fluid. MLW’s laboratory is supporting with COVID-19 testing, an important element in the fight against the disease.

b) is re-directing clinical staff duties, to deliver patient care in Queen’s hospital and other locations


c) is providing financial and in-kind resources towards the supply of equipment and critical items that are in shortage but are critical to the fight against COVID-19. For example we are sourcing PPE and oxygen delivery equipment for both MLW staff and our clinical colleagues.


d) is supporting with mass communication efforts supporting district health offices with provision of public awareness about COVID, self-protection and reduction of community transmission through audio and print media.

 

     3. Assist the national clinical and public health effort. To this end, MLW:

e) is financially and logistically supporting the delivery of an oxygen plant from South Africa, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, that will supply oxygen to the whole hospital (more than 100 beds) and allow us to refill bedside oxygen tanks

f) has set up a state-of-the-art respiratory support unit at QECH, with trained staff.

g) is conducting research projects with local partners, to help understand and tackle the threat to Malawi from COVID19 on many fronts.

 

We are thrilled to announce that the Wellcome Trust has granted MLW £2.15M in an Extraordinary Provision, to save lives, protect health care workers, and support the Malawi health services and College of Medicine. This Extraordinary Provision will assist with oxygen and PPE procurement and delivery and the other measures by which we are providing support in these difficult times. We thank Wellcome for their commitment to the long-term partnership with Malawi.

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Dossani Trust, Gift of the Givers Donate MK2, 500,000 towards fight against COVID-19

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IMG 20200422 WA0028Kanabar Dossani Edited

The Dossani Trust, and the Gift of the Givers Foundation, both non-governmental organisations, are amongst the first supporters of the COVID-19 Response and Resilience Fund. The donations amount to MK2,500,000 (approximately 2,700 British pounds) with Gift of the Givers Foundation donating MK500,000 and Dossani Trust donating MK2,000,000.


The fund has been set up by the Malawi-Liverpool-Welcome Trust’s (MLW) UK partners - the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) to support the response in Malawi. The fund will support provision of critical basic equipment needed by health service providers at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), the main referral hospital in Blantyre and support researchers both in the lab and out in communities.


MLW are working with the Malawi Government and other partners at district and national level to develop and implement innovative ways to protect vulnerable populations and prevent deaths.


There are currently countrywide major shortage of basic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), inadequate facilities for waste disposal and insufficient oxygen provision making the prospect of a widespread community transmission of COVID-19 an uphill challenge.


MLW and LSTM are appealing to the local business community to support the purchasing of basic equipment to ensure that people on the frontline are adequately equipped to deliver the best health care and response during this time. Your financial support will also be used to support public health measures including community public awareness and education efforts.


This global COVID-19 pandemic is challenging; and has affected most developed and developing healthcare systems. We can still protect and save lives in Malawi, but it is now a race against time. 
Please join us in the fight against COVID-19.


You can pledge your support by contacting Dr Pratiksha Patel in Malawi (pdpatel@mlw.mw) or Lindiwe Mafuleka in Malawi (lmafuleka@mlw.mw) or Stacey Lavery in the UK (stacey.lavery@lstmed.ac.uk).


For more information on how you can donate/support the fight against COVID-19, please visit: www.mlw.mw  and https://www.lstmed.ac.uk/fundraising/covid-19-response-and-resilience-fund.


Thank you to our supporters here in Malawi and overseas for your support to-date.

 

Picture at the left: CEO of Gift of the Givers Foundation Mr. Jakhura (right) and MLW's Pratkisha Patel (left).

Picture at the right: Mr. Kanabar of The Dossani Trust.