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Helping disadvantaged young people become healthcare professionals

Pharmacists in Africa play a key role in managing the supply and distribution of drugs for major conditions such as HIV and AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Well-trained pharmacists improve the access to healthcare in rural communities by being able to advise and diagnose patients with minor illnesses.

Malawi, like many countries in Africa, has a critical shortage of health workers. In 2015, the World Bank acknowledged Malawi as the poorest country in the world, with an average gross national income of US$250 per person, with more than half of its population living on less than US$1 a day.

The shortage of health workers has a negative impact on many patient outcomes and Malawi has some of the most shocking health statistics in the world. It remains one of the most dangerous places for women and children, with a maternal mortality ratio of 460 per 100,000 deliveries and 71 per 1,000 children dying before their fifth birthday. The vast majority of deaths are preventable. In 2009, there were just 136 registered pharmacists in the country, serving a population of 16 million people.

Medic to Medic is a UK registered charity that provides scholarships to disadvantaged young people training to be pharmacists, doctors, physiotherapists and nurses in Malawi and Uganda who are at risk of dropping out of their courses because of financial difficulties. We pay for students’ tuition fees and provide books and equipment, a twice-yearly stationery allowance and a laptop. We also offer salary supplements to graduates during their internship to reduce the financial pressures to emigrate.

There are plenty of ways to get involved with Medic to Medic. Readers can become a regular donor, run a fundraising event, or join our Christmas campaign. Healthcare professionals can even become mentors. Mentors are paired with students who are struggling in their field of expertise. Via emails or Skype, they will help and guide the students on topics and areas they are struggling with. More information is available at (email; call 020 8869 3603).

Sheena Jagjiwan

Programme coordinator

Medic to Medic

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20200034

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