What we do
We are a small “Dust on the boots” medical charity founded by two ex-NHS professionals in 1997 and supported by a board of doctors and medical scientists in the UK who have all worked in Malawi on our projects.
We work to bring professional and effective mobile healthcare to children and communities in remote, rural regions of Malawi where access to conventional healthcare is virtually non-existant.
We have operated at Nkhotakota in the central region of Malawi for over 20 years and our projects are highly cost-effective because we enjoy the support of a small army of Village Health Volunteers, drawn from the local communities who play a key role in their delivery.
We work in the villages far from the tarmac and our mission is to put an end to children suffering and dying simply because they have no access to medical care.
We operate with very low administration costs, over 95% of all funding is used directly on our programmes.
Where we work
Malawi is a small, but beautiful country in south-eastern Africa, known as the Warm Heart of Africa for the friendliness and kindness of its people.
Despite Malawi’s wonders, the country still suffers from being one of the worlds least developed − and sadly, some of those most affected by poverty and inequality are its children. Around 85% of the estimated population of 19 million live in rural areas, and 71.4% of people in Malawi live in extreme poverty, with the average person earning just $268 a year.
Malawi is still afflicted by a myriad of disease threats that have been successfully combatted elsewhere in the world. Malawi’s situation is compounded further by poor healthcare infrastructure, lack of resources and inefficient delivery of services. Only 7% of the population have electricity, and less than 10% have access to adequate sanitation.
Travelling out from our medical centre, our children's mobile clinic serves remote, rural areas in over thirteen village regions. Our offices and medical centre are based in the central region of Nkhotakota, where political and social dynamics have a profound bearing on morbidity and mortality levels.
1998 - 2001 THE AIDS ORPHANS
When we began our programme in 1998 in Malawi the greatest need was support for the children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In the villages there was no knowledge of HIV/AIDS and it was believed that witchcraft was the cause of the “Slimmer’s disease” and the deaths of all who fell ill. It was common belief that the children orphaned by the pandemic were bewitched and they were often chased away from the village of their birth.
Out first instinct was to build orphanages but the local community made it clear they are against the African culture so we had to find a new solution and came up with concept of community based support. The programme encouraged relatives and villagers to take in the orphans and ensured they were not a burden by providing food inputs, clothing and paying the costs of schooling.
2000 - 2004 HIV/AIDS EDUCATION
There was a complete vacuum of knowledge on the subject when we began our programme in 2000. Rather than focus on adults we chose to operate in the primary and secondary schools; we operated in 106 schools, reaching over 70,000 students annually. After a three year project we ran a voluntary counselling and HIV testing project that attracted 4,500 beneficiaries and proved the success of the project with a significant reduction in the HIV +ive rate in secondary school children.
2003-NOW CHILDREN'S MOBILE CLINIC
Working in the villages we were acutely aware of the numbers of sick and dying children, denied access to medical care because of lack of transport, infrastructure and the very real challenges of poverty itself. Our simple solution was to set up Children's Mobile Clinics and take the medical care to where the need was greatest.
2005-NOW CHILDREN LIVING WITH AIDS
We set up our Thandizo centre for children living with AIDS that is a great success and certified as a centre of excellence.
2020-NOW SCREEN & TREAT FOR CERVICAL CANCER
Malawi has the world's highest incidence and mortality from this cancer; our planned field-based programme will detect and treat the lesions long before they develop into cancers.
If no one cared...
We are grateful to award-winning film director Ken Howard for coming to Malawi to make a documentary about our work. You can watch the seven minute shortened version here.
The Frog Who Was Blue
Our thanks to Dr Faiz Kermani who has written a children's book called"The Frog Who Was Blue" which follows Biriwita the blue Malawian frog, with all profits going to WMF.