12. Sep 2023

Strengthening diabetes care in Malawi through P2P Academy initiative

Strengthening diabetes care in Malawi through P2P Academy initiative

Zuzanna Dzialowska
In August 2023, three dedicated healthcare professionals from Malawi, Lucia Mbulaje, Falieth Chilonga, and Racheal Nyirenda, participated in an enriching training program funded by WDF and hosted by Dr. Mohan's Diabetes Specialist Centre.
Three Malawian nurses posing with Dr Mohan and Latha Venkatesh in Dr Mohan's office.

Dr Viswanathan Mohan Mohan, Lucia Davie Mbulaje, Rachael Nyirenda, Falieth Chilonga and Latha Venkatesh, upon the completion of a month-long training at Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialist Centre in India.

The initiative was part of the WDF's Partner 2 Partner (P2P) Academy, aimed at building diabetes capacity and care with our partners. It is done through piloting innovative small-scale projects, networking and short-term training of healthcare providers at selected diabetes experts around the world.

The Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) staff first identified the need for such intensive training.

Dr Kelvin Mponda, QECH's Director, Dr Tamara Phiri and Dr Melanie Moyo recommended the P2P Academy programme and supported the nurses' application. ‘Facilitating this training demonstrates the medicine department's leadership's commitment to advancing the care of diabetes patients at QECH’, says Dr Mponda. ‘This innovation is appreciated, and we encourage Lucia, Falieth and Racheal to continue and yearn for the best for our patients’.

Dr Mohan, the chairman of Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialist Centre, welcomed the nurses to the facility in India, dedicating his time to teaching and supporting them. ‘[The nurses] were very interested and diligently spent their time at our centre’, adds Dr Mohan. ‘We do hope we will have more opportunities to collaborate with Malawi’.

The vice principal of the Centre, Latha Venkatesh, was also highly involved in the training program. She supported the nurses in achieving their many learning objectives. Aside from increasing their understanding of the different types of diabetes, its complications and management, they also aimed to gain knowledge and skills on diabetes-management technologies and understand the value of clinical research for patient care.

Lucia, Falieth and Racheal learned through interactive lectures, group discussions, clinical observations, and case presentations. The training covered various crucial areas in diabetes management, including nutrition and exercise, integrated clinical care, diabetes education, foot care, eye care, mental health, clinical leadership, mentorship, and research.

One of the key takeaways from their experience was the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in delivering holistic diabetes care.

‘The P2P programme provides an excellent opportunity for WDF to facilitate learning and sharing of expertise between partners’, explains Mads Loftager Mundt, Senior Programme Manager at WDF.

‘Thanks to Dr Mohan and his team, the diabetes centre at QECH will be able to improve the more advanced diabetes care provided at the hospital, which will ultimately benefit people living with diabetes in Malawi’.

Three Malawian nurses posing with Dr Mohan and their diplomas.

Lucia, Falieth and Racheal received their diplomas from Dr Mohan for successfully completing their training.

The nurses share that it was a ‘life-changing experience in diabetes management’.

As they return to Malawi, Lucia, Falieth and Racheal plan to put in place their newfound knowledge and skills to enhance diabetes care. They have set forth several recommendations, including incorporating multidisciplinary teams in diabetes clinics, developing a Malawian food atlas, encouraging exercise in patient care, improving wound care and foot assessments, and standardising diabetes care across health facilities.

They add, ‘We are truly grateful for the opportunity to learn from Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialist Centre, and we are excited to bring this knowledge back to QECH. We aim to transform our diabetes clinic into a centre of excellence’.