Pediatric and Child HEalth Association of Malawi First Annual Conference

By Elizabeth Glaser Moderator Emeritus | 23 Sep, 2017

I'm at the first Pediatric and Child Health Association of Malawi Conference being held in Lilongwe, Malawi from 22 -24 September 2017. The theme is interdisciplinary care to improve child health outcomes in Malawi.

The conference is the end result of almost of year of work by nurses, doctors, clinical officers, and other professionals involved in child care here.

Yesterday we had sessions on adolescent physical and mental health, including managing chronic diseases such as type I diabetes and HIV in teens, and communication strategies with teens, and mental health challenges in young people. Our presenters were a psychiatrist, a nurse, and a psychologist. There was lively discussion with stories shared, questions asked and answered, and a lot of consideration of the balance between the rights of the child and the perceived rights of the parents.

This morning we are discussing difficult ethical subjects - how to identify and treat children with physical and sexual abuse, the legal pathways, and how to report findings in court. Presenters included a nurse, a social worker, and a judge.

The next session is on end of life ethical dilemmas from the nurse leader in the palliative care clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre. When or if to withdraw treatment in severally ill children, "switching off the vent." How to facilitate palliative consults to assist families in making difficult decisions..

Next - we are given a scenario of a child being brought in after a traffic
accident in shock, actively bleeding, with a card in their pocket indicating that he is a Jehovah's witness. What do you do?

More later



Bette Brassfield Replied at 12:25 PM, 23 Sep 2017

Double WOW Elizabeth. The topics are outstanding, i.e., timely, relevant and stimulating. Wishing I was there, truly.
Bette Brassfield GHSP Uganda 2016-18

Monique Germain Moderator Replied at 8:54 PM, 23 Sep 2017

This is an outstanding conference. I appreciate the courage the members demonstrate in discussing end-of-life issues from a cultural perspective. Great job!

Susan Wood, PNP-BC, MPH, IBCLC Replied at 10:42 PM, 23 Sep 2017

Thank you so much for sharing this, Elizabeth. It sounds like a fantastic conference: thought-provoking and with great breadth. How I wish I were there, but I am in spirit!

Kimberly Baltzell Replied at 12:03 PM, 25 Sep 2017

Dear Elizabeth, thank you for all your great reporting - it is always something relevant to my work! I am a nurse scientist at UCSF, also focused on malaria and related issues. I am emailing because the conference you are attending in Malawi directly relates to a study I am developing with a few physician colleagues. I am wondering how you knew about the conference and how I might make sure not to miss such meetings. Thanks for any advice,

My best,


Kimberly Baltzell, RN, MS, PhD, FAAN

Director, UCSF School of Nursing Center for Global Health
Associate Professor, UCSF Department of Family Health Care Nursing

Elizabeth Glaser Moderator Emeritus Replied at 10:17 AM, 13 Oct 2017

Sorry I didn't finish my reporting, will try to review and say more a bit later . Kimberly, I was one of large team that brought this to fruition, on the coordinating committee and I was co-chair of the research committee. This was truly a collaborative effort being led by my colleagues Miriam Simbota and Maureen Majamanda at Kamuzu College of Nursing and our medical colleagues in Pediatrics at the College of Medicine/ Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. Anneka Hooft, my peds colleague and I are here in Malawi as part of the Global Health Service Partnership. Anneka suggestion the conference and showed it was financially feasible, she got people motivated and inspired and then the Malawi faculty and clinicians went all in , leading the way to make it a great event.

At the conference, I also got to meet some GHDonline nurses such as Chikondi Chimbatata, matron of the peds ward at Mzuzu Central Hospital. Last week, I drove up to Mzuzu to visit with her team and Etta Phiri , on faculty at Mzuzu University, school of nursing, to facilitate getting some research/practice improvements off the ground.

At PACHA we had clinical officers, social workers, mental health clinicians, physical rehab experts , public health researchers, etc . This is what Global Health should be, must be, to provide an effective response to the challenges we see every day - multidisciplinary care.

Christina Congdon Moderator Replied at 1:26 PM, 13 Oct 2017

Such a truly powerful conference with topics that are often overlooked in such a platform. I find it quite amazing that the conference even included the perspective of a judge when discussing these difficult ethical issues! This is truly what Global Health should be and I applaud such collaborative work!