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Evening Meeting With Amanda Mckean, Director Canterbury Festival

30th April 2024
Venue: Cricket Ground

Evening meeting with Amanda McKean, Director, Canterbury Festival.
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Lunchtime Meeting Agm & May Business Meeting

7th May 2024
Venue: Cricket Ground
Lunchtime meeting 12.30pm for 1pm meal Annual General Meeting to be followed by the May Business Meeting.
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Donation towards hand therapy in Malawi

Earlier in the year our International Committee gave a donation of £250 to hand therapist Chloë Baxter to support the Lilongwe Institute of Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery (LION) Project in Malawi.

Chloë, who lives in Canterbury but grew up in Wye, is an occupational therapist; she has worked as a specialist in hand therapy for nearly 10 years at hospitals in East Kent. Chloë contacted us back in September to tell us about the Project which she was just about to join as a volunteer.

The LION Project itself started back in January 2023; the current plan is for the project to run for 5 years in order to teach hand surgery and therapy skills to local surgeons and therapists in Lilongwe.

Chloë had learnt of our Club via our late PP Margaret Griffin, so when she needed funds (and prompted by one of her patients who is a member of another club) she decided to get in touch.

Our donation was spent on materials and equipment for Chloë to take with her to Malawi – specifically on hand therapy equipment (scissors, thermoplastics, dressings and other splinting materials) and a textbook.

Chloe has just returned to the UK after spending around 3 months in Africa and, while acclimatising to the sharp difference in temperature, has sent us a short synopsis of her work out there:

“I was to work alongside a local Malawian physiotherapist who is being trained to work as a specialist hand therapist. My role was partly treating patients and partly teaching/training both therapists and the wider orthopaedic team (of doctors, interns and orthopaedic clinical officers) about what hand therapy offers and when to refer patients.

There is a purpose built building for the LION for orthopaedic and neurosurgery patients, although the neurosurgery has not yet moved across from the old central hospital site. There is a busy orthopaedic A&E department and a ward. The latter officially has around 60 beds, but is frequently overfilled with extra patients on mattresses on the floor and in the corridors. 

In hand therapy we were treating at least 10 patients a day in outpatient appointments alongside those that were on the ward itself as inpatients. The volunteer surgeons I was working alongside were operating 3 days a week and running clinics on the other 2 days; they were performing up to 15 operations, which were often complex, each week.

We were mainly treating trauma, such as injuries following road traffic accidents (which are very common in Malawi); ‘panga’ injuries (panga is a type of machete, commonly used for farming, but also, sadly, as a weapon); and abscesses and severe infections. The latter arise due to poor hygiene facilities for many people, and delays in seeking medical input for simple injuries which then get infected; sadly this often leads to amputation of fingers. There are also some more unusual injuries such as snake and crocodile bites!

The project is planned to run for 5 years, having started in Jan 2023. This is subject to fundraising for late 2024 and beyond, it costs between £80,000 – £100,000 per year.

I don’t have any immediate plans to return to Malawi, but I would like to volunteer again at some point if possible. We also hope to collect project data to present research findings at future scientific meetings for hand surgery/therapy.”

To learn more about the LION Project, click here and here.

Picture: Hand therapy training sessions. Picture credit: Chloë Baxter/Rotary Club of Canterbury.



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The Rotary Club of Canterbury
St Lawrence Cricket Ground
Old Dover Road,
Canterbury, Kent,
CT1 3NZ,
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