Block I 2010

Colleen Dupuis, Steven Kreis, Katie Hillman, Bahareh Aslani, Armita Ghoddousi, Reid Andress, Emily Kenny, Chris Johnson

Around Blantyre:

  • Changing money: The Forex on Victoria near the curio market gives the best rate – 172-ish – and it is air-conditioned
  • French Cultural Center: Near Shoprite, holds music concerts on Sundays
  • La Caverna: ½ a block from Terrie’s, fantastic atmosphere and yummy drinks. Art gallery, too. Closes at 4 p.m.
  • Ali Baba’s: Delicious Middle Eastern food, good pizza, great for lunch, not too pricey
  • Veg Delite: Amazing mango lassis and good Indian food
  • Ethiopian restaurant on Vic: Delicious, good prices, best spot for lunch
  • Casa Mia: Fancy restaurant near Kabula. Amazing. Great place for a last dinner.
  • Panjira: Near hospital, not great, but safe and convenient for lunch.

Reid Andress

Advice for Rotations:

Medicine: As far as what I’ve heard from the other students and seen around the hospital, the medicine department is pretty welcoming and tries to promote a good learning environment. Go to morning report on Monday (well, every day really) and introduce yourself to Dr. Allain (Theresa) and Dr. Bailey (Peter). They’re both approachable. Dr. Allain is the dept. chair and Dr. Bailey is in charge of elective rotations. I spent most of my time on 3b (adult male medicine ward) and had 2-8 patients most days. After morning report in the Medicine Annex, go to 3b and approach one of the interns or registrars (equivalent to residents here). Ask them if there are a few patients you could follow. They’ll likely show you ¼ of one bay that will be “yours,” or you may end up sharing with another student. Your role for your patients will be managing their day-to-day care, drawing/tracking down labs, ordering studies, etc. I had a tremendous amount of autonomy, but seemed like a good idea to touch base with the intern or registrar in the bay before making any major changes, just so they’re in the loop. You’ll round with a larger group on Tuesday and Friday and those will be the only days that attendings see patients on 3b. Any difficult cases/major changes in care are best addressed on those days.

Cliff notes:

Where to find lab results if they don’t show up:

  • CSF = Wellcome Trust Labe
  • FBC = Main Lab (haematology)
  • BC = Main Lab (bacteriology)
  • CD4 = Main Lab (Serology)
  • U&E = Urea & Electrolytes main lab (biochemistry)

Emily Kenny

Obs and Gynae: Can do as much or as little as you want. Try and hook up with an intern or a fifth-year student and do what they do. Midwives do most of the deliveries here, but you can do them too if you’d like. The department is very short-staffed on consultants and don’t be put off by Dr. Taulo. His bark is worse than his bite, but if you work with him in the OR apparently he’s nicer.

The smells and heat make this dept. pretty intense. If you can get past it, you’ll have a good time.


Malawi 2010 Take II

Ryan Shepherd, Kim Earle, Stephanie Maczka, Steven Kreis, Hilary Schmid, Lisa Siebert, Jim Snyder

Weekend Trips:

  • Liwonde: A great weekend adventure and perfect for a first weekend.
  • Zambia: Awesome! A must-do! Remember Africa like this.
  • Satemwa: We did tea tasting and brought a picnic lunch to enjoy at the top of the estates. Beautiful!
  • Lake Malawi: Screw schisto – go to the lake.
  • Mulanje: Biggest point of advice – DO NOT underestimate this mountain.

Hospital Hints:

  • Paeds: On the first day, try to connect with Dr. Mac Malewa. His in “charge” of rotators and will give you a mini orientation. Look out for Emmie, a paeds registrar. She is awesome and very helpful.
  • IM: You can do as much as you want, including LPs, thoracentesis (pleural tap), acitic taps, veinipuncture and pick your own patients to follow.
  • Surgery: Get to handover early. They tend to start at 7:27 a.m. If you really want to scrub cases, be ready to stay later.
  • OB/Gynae: This dept. is quite interesting and differes from the others in that it is Malawian dominated, no expats. If you are interested, show it! They won’t seek you out. You WILL get frustrated with the timeliness and patient care.

Lisa Siebert

I decided I didn’t want to climb Mt. Mulanje so found a weekend trip I would enjoy much more. I spend the weekend covering 30 miles on horseback on the Zomba Plateau. If you’re interested in riding horses, they are prepared for the most experienced rider or someone who hasn’t riddn and needs to be led by a groom. The stable’s website is

If you’re not into horses, you can tour the mountain via jeep, bike or foot, which can be set up through any hotel you stay at. I stayed at the Ku Chawe Sunbird Inn, most notably the nicest but priciest place.

The plateau was absolutely gorgeous.

Steve Kneis (Groups I and II)

The conditions you will see here will no doubt shock you and it’s good that they do. I hope they disgust you and scare you and effect in you a change to try and make a difference. There are still imitations on what you can do whilst here as a student, but as physicians we will have the authority and responsibility to better the lives of those around us, wherever that may be.

So take everything to heart, even if you don’t go on to practice international medicine. Remember your time here and value all that you have at your disposal at home.

Group III 2010

Catherine Burger, James Goldsmith


Dr. Peter Wait organizes the rotation and will assign you to a bay on one of the wards, but feel free to reassign yourself I you think you’ll work well with an attending/intern. Do things yourself — draw blood, start IVs, LPs, take patients to X-ray or HIV testing and counseling. If a patient’s HIV status is unknown, get HTC or order “diagnostic HIV test” and make sure it gets done. If negative get date of last test, if positive, know last CD4, WHO stage and where patient gets meds. Do not trust the admit forms, “investigations” may be listed by not done, recheck physical exams.


A great rotation. Most consultants are expats and are fantastic teachers. Did not like Paeds Nursery at all. I liked Paeds Special Care, Chathinka and Malaria Research the best. Enjoy your time with the kids; they are so cute!


This is an exceptional rotation, especially if you’re entering a surgical or procedural field. Dr. Thumbs (“tooms”) will set you up the first day. Plastics/Burns was my favorite service and I was allowed to assist and operate as much as I wanted. My advice would be to try and get on a service you think you’ll like early and do a few more weeks if you do. They’re very flexible.

Molly and Necole’s Top 10 ways to enjoy OB
Necole Koliba and Molly Veale

  1. Give your College of Medicine payment receipt to the secretary in the OB annex for your info packet
  2. Morning handover 8 a.m. OB annex. Labor rounds naturally follow at 9 a.m. (They usually announce this.)
  3. Morning report can be brutal but you will learn a lot. Sit near the front so you can hear. Don’t worry; they won’t ask any questions.
  4. The theater is the most welcoming area so start there to gain knowledge and confidence.
  5. Afternoon lectures are unpredictable … your absence will not be noted.
  6. The people in the nursery are welcoming. For for morning or just to check on babies from morning report.
  7. Your presentation should be about 10 minutes, 15 slides. Uncommon things here are useful topics for them.
  8. Take a couple days to visit other depts. You will not be missed.
  9. Taulo or Makinami do evaluations and evaluate you wll even if you don’t spend a lot of time with them.