My ambition to be an obstetrician realized

by Funani Malata

I was one of the first beneficiaries whom FOCHTA had supported in 2004 for my education. My mother passed away when I was at Primary 5. It was afterwards a big challenge to continue with my studies despite primary school education being free as it was very hard for me to find enough money to buy food and basic necessities. My father, who had years before divorced from my mother and left home had no interest in supporting me, nor were my relatives. I therefore went for three years without attending classes. During that time, I found work as a garden boy whose owner later assisted me to finish with my primary school education.

But then another challenge started as secondary school fees were not free. The wage I earned as a garden boy was not enough to pay for my school fees. Fortunately, I was able to be supported by FOCHTA in my secondary education. They had supplied me with not only school fees, but also note books, pens, uniforms, shoes. There was also lunch provided during school days which was prepared by a lady employed by FOCHTA specially for that. I was also given seedlings etc. as FOCHTA had encouraged me to cultivate in the small piece of land I had.

After finishing secondary schooling, I did a diploma course in Clinical Medicine at the Malamulo College of Health Sciences when I graduated in 2013. I then worked as a clinical officer in a hospital’s obstetrics department for five years.

In 2019, Thanks again to the help of FOCHTA, I was able to fulfill my ambition to study further by connecting me to a kind Professor Don Ferrin in Singapore. He had offered to sponsor me to do a degree in Bachelor of Science - Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Kamudzu University of Health Sciences, formerly known as the College of Medicine at Blantyre in Malawi where I graduated in 2022.

So thanks to FOCHTA, Professor Ferrin & Claude Ho, who have always been by my side all these years, I have managed to achieve my goal. For without FOCHTA helping me all these years, I would now be a farmer without resource, unable to support my family and relatives, nor would I be able to be of service to my community. 

Now, I am an obstetrician working at the Machinga District Hospital serving as its head of the Maternity Department.This hospital services a very large area with a population of over 735,000. The fertility rate of Malawian women is 6.1% compared to, so I have been told,1.58% for Australian women. We have in total 55 beds in the wards. There are on average 25 deliveries every day, with two caesarean operations, but could be up to 35 deliveries per day, with 8 caesarean operations. Under me are 6 clinical officers and 15 nurses. A couple of months ago, I was also in charge of coordinating the treatment of the cholera outbreak in the district as the epidemic was the worst seen in twenty years but has since subsided now.

Lastly, I would like to thank Mr Claude Ho and my sponsor Professor Ferrin for the great things they have done for me. May God continue to bless them.

Posted on: Sunday, 19 March 2023 at: 8:59 pm
Filed under: Malawi news, Students