Roundtable Malawi

Billy’s Clinic in Chembe Village, Cape Maclear

Both of our trusted partners in Malawi needed help at the start of 2023. Cyclone Freddy had caused widespread damage and flooding especially in the south of the country. Whole villages had been devastated. In response to an appeal by Roundtable Malawi, the Guernsey Aid committee was able to make a swift and direct contribution to the relief effort. At the same time we were also able to help our contacts at Billy’s Clinic where they were fighting an outbreak of cholera in nearby Chembe fishing village. A grant from Guernsey Aid has enabled several community latrine blocks to be built (see photo in the Spring 2023 news update). These will curtail the further spread of the disease and improve sanitation enormously in a densely populated area where open defaecation is still common.

Roundtable Malawi became a trusted partner of Guernsey Aid in 2022 when Claudine and Nick visited Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi, and met up with their Chairman. At the time they were busy organizing a Flood Appeal in response to the devastation caused by Cyclone Ana in the south of the country but they were also involved in a longer term project to build a community school and vocational training centre at an orphanage in Lilongwe for abandoned street children called ‘Streetwise’. Guernsey Aid have since contributed to the infrastructure costs of that project including the roof and rain water harvesting system. Further details and a Youtube video are available on the Spring 2022 news update page.

Billy’s Clinic as it is known locally is a rural health centre providing much needed primary healthcare services to a remote community of 20,000 people who live on the Cape Maclear peninsular in Malawi. They previously had to travel more than 20km to access any medical care at all and it is still several hours drive from Chembe village to the nearest District Hospital.

The clinic was set up in 2004 by Mags Riordan after her son Billy tragically drowned in nearby Lake Malawi. In 2007 a small in-patient unit was added and medical care is now available around the clock to the local population of subsistence farmers and fishermen thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers and locally trained care staff. The clinic has become a lifesaver especially for the many children with malaria for whom time is often of the essence. Other conditions commonly seen include trauma, malnutrition, gastroenteritis, dysentery, bilharzia, asthma and pneumonia. A separate and busy HIV/Aids clinic is run in an adjacent building.  

Dr Nick and Claudine worked at the clinic as volunteers for 4 months in 2018 and the many generous donations they received from Guernsey people before they went allowed them to replenish the clinic’s stock of medicines and equipment. They have kept in touch with the clinic ever since and get regular updates as to its day-to-day and development needs. Since 2021 the clinic has been run in partnership with the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM).