Three nurses from the Royal Free London are visiting Malawi this week as part of a drive to improve renal care for the local population. 

Janice Ward, senior matron for the haemo-dialysis service, Robyn Morris, clinical nurse specialist for home care and Ida Rebello, senior sister at the Tottenham Hale Kidney and Dialysis Centre flew to Malawi on Friday for a week-long trip. The nurses aim to improve dialysis and renal nursing for patients at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, by setting up an education programme. They will also be blogging about their experiences in Malawi.

The visit comes after a group of doctors from the Royal Free Hospital, including Mark Harber and Rhys Evans, visited the hospital with the aim of improving medical care.

Dr Harber recommended that a team of nurses visited the hospital to set up an education programme to help improve nursing care.

The trip has been funded by a £10,000 grant from the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, a charity linked to the Royal Free Hospital. 

Robyn said: “Initially we are scoping out the situation to see where we can help. Then we will help them develop a plan for setting up the education programme. We will probably visit the hospital again in October to ensure the programme continues to be delivered effectively. The aim is to ensure that once up and running, the education programme can be delivered by the nurses there.

“A nurse from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has visited the trust earlier this year, to see how we do things here – so this is all part of continuing to build a relationship with the clinicians in Malawi.

“Dialysis care is very specialised and other nurses wouldn’t necessarily have the knowledge and skills to deliver appropriate care to dialysis patients. We will provide advice about infection control and ensuing patients have a healthy fluid balance and an appropriate diet.”

Robyn said that although she was initially quite anxious about getting involved in the project she was keen to help develop the renal services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“This is a new experience, it’s a fantastic opportunity to find out how care is delivered in a completely different setting and to help deliver an education programme which will help patients in Blantyre.”

Janice, Ida and Robyn will be writing a daily blog about their trip —stay up to date with their work in Malawi.


Image: Janice, Ida and Robyn before boarding their flight to Malawi.    

Notes to editors

About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver and kidney transplantation, haemophilia, renal care, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, Parkinson's disease, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read 'A bigger trust, a better future'.