Friday, 6 March 2015

About our project

A bit of background

Planning for this project began all the way back in 2013. In our very first week of first year, our lecturer mentioned that an international placement might be possible but warned that we would be responsible for organising it ourselves. Corrinne started plotting, and reading as much as possible to see if Malawi could be an option. She talked about it a lot. So much so, in fact, that by the end of first year she'd managed to convince a few more people that they wanted to get involved too. The team started to take shape.

There was a stack of paperwork to complete, and our weekly planning meetings began. Our lecturers were massively supportive and helped to set us on the right track, but let us take the lead. Over time, we began to get a clearer idea of what we wanted to achieve in Malawi. We knew we wanted it to be more than just a placement somewhere sunnier than Glasgow - we wanted to think of a way to put our skills to use, and specifically benefit people with learning disabilities in Malawi.

Here's what we've come up with...

The Team

Corrinne, Michael, Rachael, Eve and Jennifer.

We are currently in our second year at Glasgow Caledonian University, studying Learning Disability Nursing. We will graduate in October 2016.

Corrinne and Michael plan to spend 14 weeks in Malawi. Rachael, Eve and Jennifer will be there for 7 weeks.

About our project

We are going to Lilongwe, Malawi, between May and September 2015. Our project has 3 main goals:

  1. Improve healthcare for people in Malawi, in particular for those with learning disabilities.

  2. Raise awareness of HIV and AIDS. (With a focus on supporting those with learning disabilities or limited literacy to understand more about transmission, risks and testing.)

  3. Develop ongoing links between Glasgow Caledonian University Nursing Department and Kamuzu Nursing College and the University of Malawi in Lilongwe.

We will provide nursing care for people with learning disabilities, and the general population, in both hospital and community settings.

We will also deliver training about HIV and sexual health for people with learning disabilities, and provide accessible information that is easy to understand.

Why this project? Why us?

According to the non-profit Enable Scotland, in Malawi only 25 per cent of people who have a disability and need medical treatment have access to necessary services. We will use all of the specialised skills, knowledge and experience we have acquired as Learning Disability Nursing students, to improve awareness and encourage local nurses to act as effective advocates for people with learning disabilities requiring healthcare. By sharing good practice, and working sensitively with local nurses and nursing students, we hope to have a positive impact on the lives of people with learning disabilities in Malawi.

In addition to our regular placement hours, we will develop accessible information and training materials about HIV and AIDS. In Malawi, people with learning disabilities are statistically more likely to have HIV. There are a number of factors which contribute to this. The Situation Analysis Report for People with Disabilities in Malawi (2011) highlights the lack of information available in accessible formats for people with learning disabilities or limited literacy skills. There are also a number of misconceptions about how HIV is transmitted, and HIV testing. We will deliver training to local nurses and nursing students, to support them to work sensitively with local people to raise awareness and address this serious issue. By offering training to local nurses, in addition to working directly with individuals, we hope that the positive impact of our work will be sustainable, and will continue well after we return to the UK.

The current climate of NHS funding freezes and increased burden on health services poses considerable challenges for nurses in the UK. It will be helpful to see how nurses in Malawi manage to remain positive and motivated in the face of even greater hardship. We will develop resilience and adaptability, and gain a greater understanding of culturally sensitive care, which will benefit us and the people we support throughout our nursing careers.

It is our ambition that we will establish an ongoing reciprocal link between Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Malawi, so that future nursing students from both universities have the opportunity to gain international experience as part of the pre-registration programme.


For more info about fundraising events click on the links in the sidebar.

Or visit our Hubbub online funding page for more details about the project and ways that you can help.

Feel free to ask us any questions about our project. Just leave a comment below.

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