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May 2017

Lutheran Mobile Clinic
(C.A.M.M – Malawi)
May 2017

April showers bring May flowers, right?  Well, this old adage doesn’t hold true in Malawi.  April typically brings long queues in our Out Patient Department, high numbers of malaria cases, and lots of referrals to Kamuzu Central Hospital, which handles complicated cases that the area health centers cannot.  There is a distinct lack of rain and only a handful of wild flowers can be seen on the roadside on the way out to Suzi and Thunga.  

Historically, April has been the peak of our busiest season.  It’s the month we see the most patients in our Out Patient Department.  It’s the month we have the most malaria cases.  It’s the month we have the most referrals. It’s the month we have the longest workdays out in the field.  April is a hard month, but this year, thankfully, it wasn’t.

This April, we saw 1,808 patients in our Out Patient Department.  In April 2016 we saw 5,132!  That is almost a 65% reduction in patients.  The reduction in Malaria cases is even larger!  This April we saw 815 malaria cases compared to 3,145 in 2016!  That is a 74% reduction in malaria cases seen at Lutheran Mobile Clinic.  

What caused such a reduction?  Thoughts in the Lilongwe health community point to a large-scale distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets throughout the country in 2016 before the rains came in December.  By sleeping under a mosquito net, people are protected from the mosquito’s bite, which transmits the malaria parasite.  The powerful and plentiful rains that began in December and continued up until March are also getting credit for helping to reduce the incidence of malaria this rainy season.  The strong rains helped to reduce the amount of stagnant water around, which is where mosquitos breed, thereby reducing the number of mosquitos able to transmit malaria.  The plentiful rains this year not only helped reduce malaria but also gave our farmers a bountiful crop, which is being harvested currently.  

LMC receives our malaria tests and treatment, LA, from USAID, the US government’s development organization.  The Malawian government no longer assists us with medications; therefore, if we use all those supplies we have to purchase them from our medications budget.  Each test is approximately $1.50, and treatment is approximately, 50 cents to $2.00.  That adds up quickly when we are using over 100 tests in a day!  Thankfully, this year, we haven’t had to purchase any malaria supplies yet.  With serious budget constraints, this is a huge blessing!

As we are coming to a close of the first week in May, we are seeing a slight increase in malaria and Out Patient Department numbers, but nothing like the volume we have been used to at this time in the year.  We are grateful for the reprieve of a hard April and for a Lord who is continually watching over us and providing for us in every way.

Your Sister in Christ,     
Amanda Oswalt    
Nurse In Charge - Lutheran Mobile Clinic

I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.  Psalm 9:2