The MartiDerm charity received a request for aid from Dr Cristina Galván in 2018 asking us to engage in the Solidarity Dermatology project in Malawi. This gave rise to Stop Scabies, an initiative that also enjoys the support of the Piel Sana Foundation.
The request consisted of supplying medication. But we wanted to go further and responded by providing the components and training needed to enable the local production of medicines for the treatment of scabies.
A compound medication laboratory was put together to manufacture the medicines and distribute them across the target population. This was the first project milestone to celebrate. We also took part in three expeditions organised by Dr Galván and her team between October 2018 and October 2019.
In summer 2019 we decided to step up the number of health centres we distribute medication to and created a local coordination team comprising two people tasked with visiting and supplying 12 health centres.
This was the start of Stop Scabies phase 2, a step further in providing treatment continuity with local personnel.
The project was bolstered with the emergence of COVID-19 to ensure we could remain active despite being unable to make an expedition to Malawi. Under our remote supervision, the local team organised the manufacture of capsules and creams throughout August, eventually producing 53,000 capsules and 55 kg of cream.
Some 60,000 capsules of Ivermectin and 80 kg of Permethrin cream were distributed across the 12 Malawi health centres during the 35 coordination visits carried out in 2020. 4,362 patients were treated from a population of around 30,000 inhabitants attended. Being able to treat so many people in such a difficult year and doing it entirely on the back of local resources was our second project milestone to celebrate.
We are also especially proud of the way the project has been growing: one of our scholars, who has now earned a diploma, began to partner on the project by offering in-person and virtual training sessions to the centres’ health personnel. The idea was to ramp up diagnosis, treatment and incident data collection. The first session was held in Mchinji on 5 November last year.
Now, in 2021, and thanks to our partner Active Africa, we continue to train scholars across different health fields: medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health and anaesthesiology. Our goal: to continue bringing health to Malawi.
See the video on this amazing project here.