Previous posts have described the first phase of the refurbishment of the Dental Department at Kamuzu Central Hospital, which was completed in May 2019. We recognised then that there was further work still required and we have since been planning Phase 2. This has entailed collection of more donated equipment, both by the Dentaid team and the Glasgow Dental School team, work which has also been reported previously.
By the Autumn of 2019, much of the equipment required had been identified and we began to plan the logistics of transportation of the kit to Malawi, followed by its installation. Rather than renting a shipping container, we decided to purchase one. The container will subsequently be installed in the grounds of the College of Medicine campus in Lilongwe, where it can act as a storage facility for dental equipment / materials for the MalDent Project and to support the work of our partner charities Smileawi, Bridge2Aid and Dentaid.
The costs associated with the container purchase, shipping, equipment servicing and installation were significant, and not part of our main MalDent Project grant. We therefore made applications to both the Scottish Government and the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow HOPE Foundation for financial assistance.
We are delighted and very grateful to both organisations for the financial support they have made available. This funding has supported all components of Phase 2 of the KCH Dental Department refurbishment.
On 3rd February 2020, our container arrived at the Dentaid Headquarters in Southampton. This was not just any container – it was now ‘our container’, which will continue to serve a valuable role long after the consignment reaches Malawi, once it is installed as a storage facility in Lilongwe.
Once the truck was in position, it was time for the container to be unloaded into its new temporary space in the Dentaid Headquarters yard.
The operation proceeded without a hitch and the container was soon in situ, ready for its next consignment of materials and equipment for Lilongwe.
Dentaid’s fantastic team of volunteers has been busy identifying and preparing the items to be packed into the container. These range from small pieces of equipment …
… to the large items which still require servicing and checks before dispatch.
Dr James Mchenga, Academic Head of the BDS programme at the College of Medicine, had sent some lists of equipment that he needed to procure as he establishes an oral surgery service at the Dental Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre
Dentaid has extensive stocks of donated instruments, a small selection of which can be seen on these demonstration mounts:
As a result, many of the items requested by James will find their way into the container as part of the consignment of dental items and equipment.
The packing of the container began immediately after it arrived:
Our plan had been to arrange for uplift of the filled container in late March / early April, followed by a one-week visit for the installation in June 2020. However, these scheduled activities have had to be put on hold because of the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. As I write this piece, Malawi is reporting four confirmed cases of SARS-CoV- 2 infection.
Clearly it is impossible to predict when we will be able to resume the work towards Phase 2 of the KCH Dental Department refurbishment, but all the ground-work is complete for when more normal operations can begin. In the meantime, the most important thing is for all of us to follow the rules of our respective governments and to ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us.
I would like to finish by reiterating the thanks of all those involved with the MalDent Project to the Scottish Government International Development team and to the Board of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow HOPE Foundation for their financial support of this equipment replacement project.
I would also like to thank the many volunteers who work with such commitment to deliver the equipment and dental instrumentation elements of Dentaid’s work – none of our re-equipping activity would be possible without them.
Thanks to Jill Harding, Communications Manager, Dentaid and to Stuart Bassham, Warehouse and Engineering Manager, Dentaid, for the photographs in this post.