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:
- 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.
- 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.