Our Vet Nurse bursary gives vet nurses the opportunity to volunteer with WVS through the provision of financial aid. In 2019, British vet nurse Jasmine Fuller visited our centre in Blantyre, Malawi - the following blog from her documents her time out in Blantyre.....
I was so nervous, having never travelled to Africa before or done any volunteering. We flew from Heathrow and after a long flight we ended up in Blantyre where we were met by the head vet at the WVS clinic, Dagmar. She sorted us out with getting money and sim cards for our phones and took us to the clinic, where we'd be staying in their newly built volunteers house. The kitchen is fully equipped with all the standard items and it even has solar power for when there are scheduled black outs in the village. We were there with a couple other volunteer vets and another nurse which was great company for me!
The next day we started in the clinic. The resident vet (one of Malawi’s first ever trained vets) did the rounds on the inpatients every morning. These included patients with TVT (Transmissible Venereal Tumor) cases as well as patients with spear wounds or aural haematomas. I supported a vet with the operations that day, doing routine neutering’s and TVT treatments which was a hugely rewarding start to my trip.
Day 2 began and we were back in the clinic. Once the neutering and TVT cases were completed my colleague’s undertook the clinics first ever fracture repair on a 4 month old male medium crossbreed without the use of a drill. They also managed to do a femoral head arthroplasty using a wire. The thought of being able to hopefully save both the dogs' legs and not have to amputate was brilliant!
The next 3 days of the trip were used to deliver an outreach clinic at the South of Lake Malawi. We travelled to the lake and stayed in Cape Maclear where we were sponsored by different lodge owners for meals and accommodation. The scenery was out of this world and we were able to swim in the lake after finishing our work as well as being lucky enough to visit Thumbi Island (a beautiful National Park on Lake Malawi).
On the weekend we set up at a local school where we were able to neuter 70 animals and vaccinate over 250 dogs! This was one of the highlights of the trip for me, the people were so thankful that we were there to deliver crucial veterinary care to their dogs and the value of every member of our team shone through. The facilities were very minimal as you can imagine being in a classroom, however it certainly has taught me to crack on with the job with what equipment you do have with enthusiasm and inventiveness.
On our two days off we were able to go to the Majete National Park where we spent the night. What a magical place! We saw so much wildlife, including one of the big five - elephants! The food was fantastic as well and the guides were so knowledgeable and managed to find animals we couldn’t see with our untrained eyes!
Our last evening was spent at the local Malawian music night and a leaving dinner for all the volunteers.
This was the best trip I have ever experienced and I would highly recommend anyone doing it. The support available from WVS was invaluable and Malawi is the most beautiful country to visit. Thank you to WVS for letting me go on this trip with the Vet Nurse Bursary!