News – What has been Accomplished!

May 2, 2021

On Friday, 150 of the 700 WELLOs were given away to elderly recipients on Friday. One of the recipients pictured below is 93 years old. None of these people will ever again have to carry heavy, water-filled buckets on their heads or shoulders from the water source (which is often miles away) to their homes. They can use the WELLOs instead.

March 22, 2021

The pictures below show a demonstration of our new hydroponic system and greenhouse. Our plan is to familiarize the people of the area with this concept, and then provide smaller versions to interested farmers in the future.

March 5, 2021

Today, Peter writes to us about primary health care intervention against COVID-19.


Dear Brian,

I on behalf of K2 TASO am pleased to inform you that we have Today conducted first session of the above stated training which took place at Wimbe. This training attracted thirty five participants from various stakeholders like nurses, clinicians, faith based leaders, health surveillance assistant, police officers, traditional healers, area and village development committees representatives.

The training was officially opened by the Kasungu district environmental health officer. There were three facilitators for the training and some of the notable areas discussed were:

  1. Basic information and education on COVID-19 to the communities.
  2. Following up COVID-19 Cases.
  3. Funeral ceremony and Burial of COVID-19 dead body.
  4. Barriers affecting COVID-19 management.
  5. K2 TASO supportive efforts in promoting primary health care.

PHOTO 1: K2 TASO READY TO COMPLEMENT GOVERNMENT’S EFFORTS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19- K2 TASO Director, Peter Minjale (standing) welcoming participants to the PHC on COVID-19 training at Wimbe. The director informed participants that if preventive, education measures and case follow-ups are emphasized in this PHC against COVID-19, there would be a great decline in the positivity rate of the pandemic in the target areas.

PHOTO 2: KNOWLEDGE ON COVID-19 IS PARAMOUNT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19: Chrispin Tom (standing), one of the facilitators from Kasungu district health office sharing information on how to follow up patients in home isolation.

PHOTO 3: DISINFECTION IN THE MANAGEMENT OF COVID-19 IS VERY VITAL- Mr. Chitsime (standing), one of the facilitators from Kasungu district health office taught a lot on the use of Chlorine with different concentration for different use i.e. 2% Chlorine is used for disinfecting dead bodies while 0.5% is used for disinfecting clothes and surfaces.

Having this Chlorine knowledge is important in ensuring that further spread of the disease is avoided after death or case confirmation.

PHOTO 4: APPRECIATING CHALLENGES FACED BY CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES AND SOME VULNERABLE MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY IN REGARDS TO COVID-19: Mr. Ben Mitochi (standing), Kasungu district environmental officer (DEHO) appreciating challenges affecting COVID-19 management. Following presentations, the participants had discussed more on the challenges faced by confirmed cases and other members of the population and some of them were:

  1. Lack of understanding on basic prevention measures against Covid-19 e.g. social; distance, used of face masks and frequent hand washing.
    • Solution to this problem was to promote education on the basic preventive measures and an education task force against COVID-19 has been established during the meeting. Participants also emphasized that they would civic educate their subordinates to abide by the preventive measures against COVID-19.
  2. Lack of Food by some families because the person responsible for sourcing food is sick from COVID-19. We have such cases around and as the infected person is out of isolation place, he is at risk of spreading the disease.
    • Solution made by participants was that relevant partners like K2 TASO should assist such patients with food items.
  3. Lack of Ideal Face Masks Use by COVID-19 confirmed cases in isolation: This is one of the challenges experienced.
    • Solution- ensure consistence in the availability of N95 masks to the patients.
  4. Lack of hand-washing facilities- This is due to poverty and lack of understanding on the importance the hand-washing equipment.

K2 TASO PRIMARY HEALTH CARE COMMITMENTS AGAINST COVID-19

Following the sharing of challenges affecting management of COVID-19 as discussed during the training, I on behalf of K2 TASO management made the following commitments:

  1. Supporting the government PHC services in the target health centers so that there is proper follow up of patients, good education on COVID-19 by all stakeholders and ensure timely referral in case the patient’s condition is not improving while in home isolation.
  2. Nutrition Support only to confirmed poor households if the person responsible to source food has been affected by COVID and this means as K2 TASO we will provide some balanced died food items to such poor patients.
  3. Supply of hand washing materials to needy households having confirmed COVID-19 patients.
  4. In case of no Chlorine in government health centers (as is the case sometimes), K2 TASO will always supply it to help in various forms of decontamination..
  5. If the government is unable to provide consistent masks to the infected, affected and those at risk of the disease, K2 TASO has made the following responses:
    • Supply of N95 masks to all confirmed COVID-19 patientsif at all they do not have this consistent mask supply from the government.
    • Supply of reusable masks to other COVID-19 vulnerable members of the society like some needy inmates in hands of police, elderly and others. As I write this email we expect to have about 2400 masks produced from K2 TASO tailoring department.
  6. Support various programs aimed at sensitizing communities on COVID-19.

The trainings shall continue from next Monday to Wednesday benefitting St. Andrew’s hospital, Mtunthama health center, K2 TASO and Chamwavi health center.

Finally, I wish to thank BTM for your support towards this PHC program aimed at fighting against the pandemic.

Kind Regards,

Peter


Dear Brian and Bert,

As you might have seen in my yesterday’s report on PHC training, as one way of reducing the spread of Covid-19 we will be distributing reusable face masks to other people at risk of contracting the disease like inmates in hands of Police, elderly and others who cannot afford purchase of face masks because of poverty.  This is part of our PHC program in regard to Covid-19 prevention. 
 
As of next week we will have 2400 reusable cloth masks made from K2 TASO tailoring department. 
The photos are for K2 TASO tailor, Esme Stone who was ideally employed for the Mooncatcher project but with the Covid-19 pandemic, K2 TASO agreed with the financiers of Mooncatcher project, Mooncatcher International of USA to assign Esme from tailoring reusable menstrual pads to reusable face masks. 
 
In the photo Esme is demonstrating a cloth mask and herself doing the work. 
 
In unity we will win the battle against Covid-19. 
 
Best wishes to Hana, Cindy and the families. We are all fine.
 
Peter

March 4, 2021

Dear Brian,

I am glad to inform you that Yesterday, Vuto (our agriculture field officer) and I went to Kasikidzi farm where we are raising the six dairy cows after donating the twenty four dairy cows to the beneficiary farmers.

It was such a productive visit as we had to meet the government employed Veterinary Officer, Mr. Chikafalimani and Crop husbandry officer, Mr. Lungu. With these officers we had to move around the farmland to identify a place where we will erect the Hydroponics structure.

Currently we have a total of 21 cows which are pregnant.

Finally I wish to thank BTM for your support towards this project as currently we have 24 dairy cow beneficiaries. Our vision is to ensure in future the farmers corperative in conjunction with K2 TASO should come up with processing plants for various milk products.

Very best wishes,

Peter

February 27, 2021

Six 10L/min oxygen concentrators donated to Kasungu District Hospital

Thanks to your timely and generous donations, we’ve been able to purchase and donate six 10L/min oxygen concentrators to Kasungu District Hospital. This is part of the over $16,000 contributed thus far towards fighting COVID-19.

February 19, 2021

The Wellos finally made it!!  Talked to Peter today.  As you can see from these pictures, he is now out and about, though still gets winded if he pushes himself.  His appetite is back (I’d say he lost about 15 pounds).  Now that he feels better, he has re-involved himself with our projects and things are moving along.  Tom Hunt (of Medic Malawi), Peter and I have agreed to purchase up to 16  10L/min oxygen concentrators after research including consultation with a friend’s MSF colleagues in Baghdad convinced us that we could accomplish (and afford) provision of 16L/min O2 flow by hooking up 2  10L/min concentrators (the concentrators are billed as 10L/min but actually average only about 8L/min flow).  15 L/min is all that is necessary to provide adequate flow for a nonrebreather mask, and this solution is just as effective in providing sufficient flow as O2 directly form an oxygen cylinder.  The oxygen concentrators cost about $2,000USD apiece, while an oxygen tank refilling system would have cost between $130,000-276,000USD; not possible without Bill Gates! BUT fortunately, also not necessary.  We have been assured that there is sufficient power available to make all 16 at KDH, 2 at SAH, and 2 at K2TASO work.

February 13, 2021

Peter continues to recover and now has enough energy to restart working. We talked to him yesterday and briefly today and he sounds like his old self, neither tired nor winded.  His sats are still not normal on room air, but he’s getting there, and he says he feels much better.  He also informed us that our dairy project had its first calf born today!  It’s the result of artificial insemination, something new in this area of Malawi (so much for Valentine’s Day!).  It’s a boy and Cindy tells me that you can’t milk them (who knew?) but still, we males do have our uses.

First calf born to our dairy project today. It’s a boy! Mother and calf doing well and mother is producing more milk than the farmer’s have ever seen. Calf is a product of artificial insemination; a first for the area.

February 11, 2021

Hi Everyone, Cindy and I talked to Peter yesterday.  He sounded tired, a little winded and raspy, but overall told us he was feeling better. His sats are running between 91-93% on room air, which is up from 90-92% the day before.  He is receiving heparin injections at home and will stay on them until he can be switched to oral anticoagulant medication.  Thanks so much Bert for your efforts to get the rivoraxaban to Peter.  Just so you know, I believe the dose will be different since Peter is already anticoagulated (i.e, he’ll need less medicine) and Peter knows this.  Since we were running down parallel tracks, Bert, I decided to proceed as well with a purchase and shipment of 3 months’ worth of apixaban, which is also now on its way to Malawi via DHL Express (thanks for doing the research on that).  This way there’s a back up shipment in case the rivoraxaban doesn’t make it OR, more likely, a full treatment for another patient.  Certainly won’t do this again via the US system since the same dose of rivoraxaban that appears to have cost you 315 Canadian was listed as $2000 USD.  We are continuing to pursue the provision of oxygen  and sourcing anticoagulation meds in the area, fyi.  We’ll keep you informed.

February 7, 2021

FYI, here’s some good news! Peter is out of the hospital (see below from Jacque).  Bert Claek is in process of getting rivoraxaban in Vancouver and then couriering it to Malawi to prevent any further pulmonary embolism.  Hopefully Peter can (and will) bridge with therapeutic IM (?SC) heparin in the meantime.  Thanks for all your prayers and support.  We’re actively working to make sure that oxygen cylinders and oxygen (and hopefully anticoagulation) will be available to the others in need in the area.  Google an article in The Scottsman  titled “COVID:  Bill Gates’ internationalism, not Donald Trump’s nationalism…”  Great article, BUT no, Bill Gates isn’t helping us and our partners Medic Malawi and K2 Foundation  Love to all! Brian

Hello Friends,
Be informed that Peter has been discharged today from the hospital.He is not using oxygen suppliments since 10 hours ago .His saturation is around 90 and is able to move around.
We thank God for your prayers.[…]
Regards,
Jacque

February 5, 2021

Thanks so much for the tremendous outpouring of support and good wishes to Peter Minjale as he is, thank God, slowly recovering from COVID19. Because of your generosity we’ve raised over $16,000 to date to help provide him and the other patients in the ICU at Kasungu District Hospital with oxygen with an overall goal of putting an oxygen cylinder filling system at St. Andrews Hospital. Depending on the cost of this system, we may also use some of this money towards purchasing anti-coagulation medication. COVID almost killed Peter by causing him to develop pulmonary embolism, which can be prevented and treated with anti-coagulation. We have also been asked to help establish a COVID ward at St. Andrews or nearby. Will keep you posted. Thanks again and stay safe and well!!

January 29, 2021

Unfortunately there has been a significant COVID 19 outbreak in Malawi since the end of 2020.  The total number of cases as of Jan 28, 2021 was 23,020 while the total number of deaths was 643.  Of the COVID cases, 16,437 have occurred since the beginning of January 2021, while 454 of the deaths occurred during that same period.  Our beloved colleague, Peter Minjale has been infected with COVID19, but, thank God, he appears to be recovering without getting seriously ill.  As soon as we heard about the worsening of the outbreak, we asked both Peter, now working exclusively for K2TASO and Tom Hunt, who runs Medic Malawi (which runs St. Andrews Hospital)  what we could do to help.  They requested funds to purchase more PPE as well as more technical advice on how to protect staff and prevent viral transmission.  We  consequently rushed $2500 US dollars as well as CDC recommendations to both.  Let’s hope this outbreak burns out soon! 

Bamboo: In the meantime, Peter tells me that almost all of the 6,000 bamboo plants we donated have survived after being planted in a number of villages. 

Reforestation: Peter also informs me that 90% of the 200,000 saplings donated by us for reforestation have been planted.

Dairy Project: He tells me that 21 of our 29 cow dairy herd are now pregnant (we lost a cow presumably to snakebite but are awaiting the official autopsy).  Our plans for the next stage of the dairy project are proceeding despite the pandemic.  We have just purchased a used motorbike so that the most distant farmers in our diary cooperative can transport milk to our processing center as quickly as possible, hopefully, thereby avoiding spoilage.   We will also be installing a milk refrigeration tank, milk pasteurizing system, yogurt maker, and solar power system to run all this and the rest of K2TASO headquarter needs in the next few months.  We could use $5,000 US dollars to this end if you wish to help us out. 

Wello Water Wheels:  Just before he got sick, Peter Minjale accomplished a miracle.  After 5 months of dogged determined negotiations with the Malawi Revenue Authority, Peter got them to waive any import duty (they had initially asked for about $12, 200 US dollars) on the Wellos, making it possible for us to dedicate these much needed  funds to other high priority projects such as COVID relief and the dairy project.