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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Southampton students attempt Malawi's highest peak for charity

Published: 25 September 2014

Fourteen Health Sciences nursing students have just completed a challenging team expedition that raised over £20,000 for Malawi-based medical charity AMECA.

The team, led by an expedition company, made a summit attempt on Mount Mulanje's Sapitwa peak, the highest mountain in Malawi at 3002m.  Despite their valiant efforts, the team was thwarted within metres of success due to severe weather conditions.


The University of Southampton students fundraised for a year to support AMECA's medical efforts in Malawi, as well as to fund vital projects in Chiraweni, a rural Malawian village with severe shortages of medical and educational supplies.


Student Emily Jones said: "We renovated Chiraweni school, helped repair the roof of a destitute orphan's home and gave vital first aid workshops to the local people.


"We bought over vast amounts of school resources, medical supplies and clothing for the many needy families there, who could not express their gratitude enough.


"We also organised a sports day - the likes of which they'd never seen before! - and sang and dance for over a thousand people, some of whom had walked for hours to see us.


"They repayed us with phenomenal welcome and departure ceremonies featuring local singing, ululating and traditional dancing and costumes.  No Westerners have seen this before - it was a truly unique experience from start to finish that will change the way we view healthcare in Africa forever.  This expedition is a very humbling experience for all of us."


The main charity to benefit from the students' fundraising efforts is medical charity AMECA, which runs a wing at Beit Cure Hospital in Blantyre, southern Malawi. Beit Cure charges for adult surgery in order to provide free healthcare to children.


As nursing students, thea team spent days observing medical services at Beith Cure, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Malawi Against Physical Disabilities rehabilitation centre and Thyolo District Hospital.  They witnessed first-hand the chronic shortages, cramped conditions and realities of medical care in Malawi.


Student Helena Crowe said: "Seeing one nurse care for over 40 patients with few or no resources makes me realise how lucky we are to have hte NHS, where on nurse to six patients is far more usual."

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