1 SURGEON TO 256,321 MALAWIANS

Dr. William Muronya’s day starts early. The halls of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital are not yet crowded with the daily flux of patients and families as Dr. Muronya, a surgical registrar (resident), joins the morning handover meeting to discuss overnight admissions and the treatment plan for each patient.

The meeting is run by Dr. Trevor Crofts, our International Medical Educator, who has been training Dr. Muronya and his colleagues for the past three months. During the meeting, Dr. Crofts asks the staff probing questions – gently pushing them to back on their diagnoses and plans.

“Although the registrars are thirsty for knowledge,” Dr. Crofts says, “they need a lot more input to understand difficult concepts.”

But the young doctors are out of their comfort zone. Malawian culture is non-confrontational and this kind of dialogue is slightly uncomfortable for Dr. Muronya and his colleagues. Dr. Crofts, a British surgeon and former examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons, knows this. He pushes the students anyway.

Eager for new skills, Dr. Muronya and his colleagues respond. Malawi has only 62 registered surgeons for the country’s 16 million people. The doctors know their country needs them.

“Training helps you to learn the local pathologies and how to treat them with the resources you have,” Dr. Muronya says. He wants to specialize in urology. “Having someone around for a long time is good. I want to be known as a pioneer in my field in my country.”

The morning’s handover meeting wraps up and the registrars walk back out into the crowded hallways. “We have the potential of establishing very nice surgical units in all places in Malawi,” Dr. Muronya says. “I want to help accomplish this.”