By: Peter Harrill

Hey everyone! My name is Peter Harrill, and I am a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. I'm applying to medical school this summer and am extremely excited about being part of this medical mission trip! This is my first time traveling to Malawi with Access Health Africa.

After arriving yesterday, it has been an incredible two days thus far. The people of Malawi have been very welcoming and the country itself is beautiful. Today was our first day providing medical care and it was a busy one! We traveled to the Kabudula Community Hospital and saw a variety of patients with differing needs. We are currently working in coordination with the non-profit organization, Watsi, which helps support medical treatment and surgeries for people in need by using a crowd-funding platform. More specifically, this organization helps fund 15 of our OR patients as well as 100 of our dental patients over the course of the week, while compensating those patients’ transportation costs as well.

In total, we had 10 patients treated in the OR today for a variety of bumps and lumps, including several ganglion cysts and lipomas. This patient total is actually a 67% increase from the number of patients seen in the OR last year on the first day. We also had the unique opportunity to observe a circumcision being conducted on a young teen. Additionally, Dentistry received 16 patients overall and the Casualty Department treated 5 patients by the end of the day. Most of the dental patients were there for extraction of damaged or decaying teeth. In the casualty unit, a two-year old child came in with a lacerated gluteus and it was uncertain whether he would be able to withstand treatment under local anesthesia. Luckily, local anesthesia did the job and he was able to receive care without having to undergo surgery. Dr. Newell did a great job helping this patient get the treatment he needed!

I would like to give an additional shout-out to the donors for helping us buy a new generator! This has helped ensure that we have electricity for the entire trip, making it easier to treat as many patients as possible.

Overall, the differences in the health care systems of Malawi and the United States are glaring, providing more perspective to the countless resources we have available back at home. So far we are off to a great start and hopefully that trend continues throughout the week!

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