Four years ago MCI began funding locum nurses to fill in staffing gaps on the Paediatric ward, where there are as many as 500 patients admitted during the rainy season. Today, in addition to locum support, we employ 4 full-time paediatric nursing staff, two of whom are MCI scholarship recipients. MCI built, supplied, and funds the KCH paediatric lab since November 2019, and we have provided the department with computers and Wi-fi access with which to access healthcare resources and digital X-rays. When needed, MCI provides patients with the funds necessary to access studies such as CT scans that cannot be done at KCH. We support the salaries of the tireless hospital social workers, and provide equipment and supplies for the department, including antibiotics, scales and glucometers, when there are shortages on the wards.
Access to a quality education is the cornerstone to reducing poverty and improving the quality of people's lives.
Malawi Children's Initiative began by funding several local elementary school students whom the Fitzgeralds knew, and in four years has grown to support almost 30 students of different ages and stages of education. We currently provide scholarships to students in university, nursing school, graduate school, and medical school. Two of our former nurse scholarship recipients have gone on to become MCI employees working permanently on the KCH Paeds ward.
In 2018 MCI worked with UNC Project Malawi to build a school Dzama village, located on the outskirts of Malawi, that provides a learning space for almost 100 children.
In 2017, MCI began by providing meals to patients' families at KCH, many of whom are subsistence farmers without access to funds to purchase food when away from their villages.
In the last 18 months we have focused our efforts on children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). The KCH Department of Paediatrics admits about 500 children with SAM per year, and one in ten of these children will die on the wards. Over the last 3 years MCI has worked in partnership with the Department of Paediatrics and a consortium of universities working in Malawi (PACHIMAKE) to strengthen the care of severely malnourished children admitted to KCH. We have helped facilitate a locally-led Quality Improvement project that uses hospital data to address gaps in the cascade of care for this high-risk group of patients. This has included the hiring of two full-time nutritionists on the KCH Nutritional Rehabilitation Unit (NRU), trainings for nurses and clinicians, and provision of supplies when there are shortages.