African Steps

African Steps works to improve and sustain the provision of healthcare on Likoma Island, Malawi. We work with the Anglican Diocese of Northern Malawi to keep St Peter's Hospital running and serving the health care needs of the people of Likoma and the nearby coastline of Mozambique.
Jun 26, 2015

News of advances in TB treatment on Likoma Island

Dear Supporter,

 I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing to share wonderful news about advances in Tuberculosis (TB) treatment on Likoma Island, Malawi.

 A number of years ago, we received a strong appeal from St Peter’s Hospital to help prevent the high number of deaths from TB on the Island. TB was one of the biggest causes of adult illness and death from a communicable disease; a situation only worsened by the high incidence of HIV infection. African Steps did comprehensive research and took advice from TB experts with experience of treating TB in Africa. It was recommended that the way forward was to build a TB isolation ward at St Peter’s Hospital; we therefore launched our campaign to raise the required funds. This is the point where you very generously gave a donation via Global Giving to this cause.

 Alongside this plan to build the isolation ward, the Clinical Officers at the hospital began to implement a World Health Organisation protocol called DOTS (direct observed treatment short-course). Essentially, this meant that patients with TB who were clinically stable, were observed in the community to ensure compliance with the taking of their medication. 

 The great news is that, as in other parts of Malawi, the implementation of DOTS on Likoma Island has resulted in a decline in deaths associated with TB.

 We have been monitoring this situation through feedback from the Senior Clinical Officer and a review by African Steps medical staff on two visits. The current situation is that, due to a clear policy on TB control, standardised treatment and the availability of effective drugs, the incidence of TB on Likoma is declining significantly. According to the World Health Organisation, the preferred management for almost all TB cases is now DOTS, not isolation. African Steps trustees have, therefore, decided not to build the TB isolation ward. TB is still a problem on the Island, but the staff at St Peter’s are working efficiently to tackle it.

 We are writing to share this promising news with you, but also to let you know that unused funds originally intended for the isolation ward will be directed to the provision of essential medical equipment, drugs and staff incentives and training. We continue to do vital, life saving work at the hospital (for example, following the first ever rheumatic heart screening program we undertook in August 2014, we are now arranging for the treatment, including some valve replacement surgery, of a large number of children, who would otherwise have died in early adulthood). Please see our website at www.africansteps.org.uk or our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/africansteps for other work we are doing at St Peter’s Hospital.

 Thank you, once again, for your generous support of our work on Likoma Island. Feel free to email me at kathryngarnett@africansteps.org.uk with any questions.

 With best wishes,

 

Kathryn Garnett

Links:

Aug 14, 2012

Final Report and Thank you

Nurse working without a uniform
Nurse working without a uniform

Dear Supporters of African Steps,

This is the final report on our Project "Stop deaths from TB on Likoma Island, Malawi", as the project is about to be marked "fully funded" on Global Giving and will no longer be open for donations.

I am pleased to tell you that we are building a TB unit which will be made up of 10 individual isolation rooms and the necessary bathroom and outpatient facilities. We designed the unit having taken advice from the Clinical Officers at St Peter's, Likoma Island and also two English consultants who specialize in TB treatment and are familiar with the African challenges and environment. We are in the privileged position of being able to build from scratch and to have access to the latest advice regarding the treatment of TB. Mathias Londo, the senior clinical officer commented in a recent email that this will be one of the best and most effective units in Malawi.

So thank you, once again, for the part you have played in making this possible.

Just for your information and to give you some idea of the other things which African Steps is currently doing at St Peter's, I'm including some recent photographs.

As always, thank you for your faithful support,

Kathryn Garnett

Trustee, African Steps

New uniforms supplied by African Steps
New uniforms supplied by African Steps
The women
The women's ward in March 2012 with old matresses
New matresses supplied by African Steps
New matresses supplied by African Steps

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Apr 13, 2012

Personal account of extraordinary scenes at St Peter's hospital, Likoma Island

Boy with broken arm who walked 3 days to hospital
Boy with broken arm who walked 3 days to hospital

Dear supporters,

I have just returned from a visit to St Peter's hospital, taking with me a team of two doctors and a nurse. The hospital was functioning with incredibly sparse resources and yet, due to the selfless devotion and courage of key staff members, people were being cared for and lives saved. There was no electricity and operations were being done by the clinical officers by the light of mobile phones (charged through the one solar powered socket installed with the help of African Steps' supporters). Drugs were in short supply, but the staff were administering them with the hope that another consignment would arrive soon. We saw resilience and strength of character in the face of extreme poverty.

As many of you know, the survival of St Peter's hospital is vital for the people of Likoma, but also for approximately 70,000 people from Mozambique and Tanzania. We were reminded of how far people would come to be treated in the hospital, when, one day we met a young boy (pictured in this report) who had walked for three days with a broken arm from Tanzania, through Mozambique and had then crossed the lake to St Peter's by boat. He had a three day walk home with his arm in plaster and was to return again to have the plaster removed a month later.

I am pleased to tell you that we are making progress with the building of the TB isolation ward and hope that it will be complete by the end of this year. We heard many staff members talk of the hope that this will bring to stop the tide of deaths from TB.

We were asked on many occasions to pass on to you the deeply felt thanks of the patients and staff in the hospital. These people really are some of the poorest and in most need of help in the world and so please be assured that your support for African Steps will make a huge difference to their lives. 

Baby with malaria
Baby with malaria
The maternity ward
The maternity ward

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