I am Maralise Potgieter a South African nurse, now retired. I have been in Malawi for 10 years and retired from active nursing 2.5 years ago, having been the nurse in charge of surgical ward at Nkhoma mission hospital. At that time I nursed several patients with amputations of lower limbs due to septic sores of foot that just did not heal and with poor circulation.
POSITIVE STEPS Charity was founded and assisted with the provision of prosthesis for these patients. This work is still going on and I am still involved, working with Mr Ian Dawe, a physiotherapist assistant, who identifies patients in need. We then discuss, also often doing home visits to determine the needs of the patients, before planning the care they require. Ian then arranges treatment or the provision of prosthetic limbs with the charity 500 MILES at the central hospital in Lilongwe, where he accompanies the patients for assistance. It has been wonderful to see the patients walk again.
I am also involved with Cerebral Palsy (CP) patients that we assist by obtaining CP chairs (supplied by POSITIVE STEPS) for their home to ensure the patient does not just lie on the floor; by sitting it is easier for them to be cared for by their families. Local carpenters make these chairs, so this also helps the local community in that way.
All requests for treatment or resources are documented and an order form completed by Ian and I do the authorisation for payment making sure that money is well spent.
Maralise Potgieter. Malawi, October 2015