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Jun 19th 2016

Greetings From Malawi "The Warm Heart of Africa"

Greetings From Malawi "The Warm Heart of Africa"

Nearly twenty four hours after getting on a plane in Toronto I am settling down in Zomba, Malawi in the southeastern part of Africa.

I have come to Malawi with two major objectives in mind. As a member of the board of Dignitas International I hope to see the great work that is done on the ground first hand and hope to showcase some of it. DI is a Toronto based NGO that has spent the last 12 years addressing access to HIV therapy for this region. Over the years it has grown into a formidible research entity as it hopes to scale what has been learned here in Zomba to a broader global health perspective.  

As a urologist and surgeon I will also be spending time at Zomba Central Hospital, assessing current access to common urological procedures and doing some general urology procedures. The hope will be to assess where the gaps currently are with respect to resource, equipment, surgical expertise and training. The idea of helping to establish at least some component of a training program for this region of Africa is a hopeful longterm goal.
I expect to be humbled, challenged and above all learn as much as I can. Less than 24 hours here in Zomba and I have already been struck by the extraordinarily warm and generous nature of Malawians.  

A few words on Malawi:

Formally known as Nyasaland it became know as Malawi in 1964 after the British Protectorate was dissolved and is today a country of about 16million people.  Reflecting the British historical influence, English is the offical language.  A number of other languages reflecting several native ethnic groups are also spoken, especially Chichewa.

The Evolution of the British Influence in Southeastern Africa:











Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world.  85% of people live in a rural setting which compounds issues around healthcare delivery.  Zomba, where I am is the third largest city and has only a population of 80,000




It is estimated that about 9% of those between 15 and 49 are living with HIV. As one of the poorest countries in the world access to surgical health care delivery, as we have come to know it in the developed world, is seriously lacking

Over the next two weeks I hope to write about both of these experiences. I will highlight some of the individual folks that run Dignitas on the ground and write about the various components of the clinical and research initiative here in Zomba. On the surgical side I will aim to describe the current structure of the health care system in Malawi as well as my experiences in the operating room at Zomba Central Hospital.  

I look forward to a great two weeks and hope to learn much!  





Posted: June 19, 2016

By: Edsel

Thanks for update.
I am learning about malaria in Zanzibar and Kenya.

So if you come back to TO with a fever, this eye doc has you all covered.

Posted: June 19, 2016

By: Louis

Thank you for this illuminating post. I knew a bit about Malawi fro two friends who do philanthropic work there. Your article makes the country and its people more specific and immediate.

You elevate us with your higher vision.

Posted: June 19, 2016

By: Robert Tracogna

Well done Rajiv, I wish you the best over the next two weeks. Stay well.

Posted: June 19, 2016

By: Mike Hayes

I find it truly amazing when talented individuals elect to lend their skills and knowledge to those less fortunate in order to make a profound difference. Have a great couple of weeks and enjoy the journey Rajiv!

Posted: June 19, 2016

By: Brenda Dushinski

As always I admire your contribution in making our world a healthier, safer more peaceful place Raj. I look forward to reading your posts as you share your story and to hearing the stories of those people whose stories too often go unheard.
Wishing you a safe journey...
Brenda :)

Posted: June 19, 2016

By: Pete B.

Rajiv, you continue to give and inspire. I look forward to hearing about your journey and the legacy that you leave behind with those that you help, teach, support and care for. Travel safe.

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Alison Tilley K

Wow - an experience of a lifetime. So impressed that you have taken on this challenge and can contribute in such an amazing way to making a difference in people's lives. Look forward to reading about your experiences. Be safe.

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Ed Collis

Rajiv, my friend,
Keep your wits about you, be "situationally aware", and

Good luck, you are doing an absolute Good Thing.

Your friend,
Ed Collis

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Julie Brown

Have a safe trip, Rajiv. I shall look forward to reading your updates. Thank you for all that you do!

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Peter K

Rajiv, Thank you for sharing this. Beautiful. I will share with my wife Connie and it will bring a great smile to her face. Safe travels.

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Jennifer Keenan

Thanks for sharing, Rajiv. I look forward to following your journey.

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Dave Carroll

Proud to know you Rajiv and impressed, yet again, at how you are using your gifts to reduce suffering in the world. You do your profession, and Timmins, proud.

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Nick Nianiaris

Wonderful and inspiring work Rajiv ! Keep us posted.

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Jane H

Rajiv, I look forward to learning more about health care in Malawi and following your adventures. Your work is inspiring ; stay safe.

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Guy Manuel

Thanks for making time to write about your adventure. It is quite impressive work and I know that you will be appreciated. Keep the updates coming! Have a safe trip.

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Jon

A great introduction Rajiv. Looking forward to your updates.


Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Megh

Great piece Rajiv

Thanks for eloquently and subtly exposing the disconnects between the needs, access and availability of health care. Enjoy

Posted: June 20, 2016

By: Brian

Thank you Rajiv for sharing your amazing trip with us. The other posts summarize most of my thoughts. Please keep your updates coming. Very inspiring! Safe travels.....

Posted: June 21, 2016

By: Nakari

Thanks for the love and passion to the well being of Malawians,wishing you a great two weeks in MW.

Posted: June 21, 2016

By: Brian Carr

You are an inspiration to us all. I admire you for what you are doing. Keep up the good works.

Posted: June 21, 2016

By: Austin

Welcome to Malawi ,The warm heart of Africa,extend your visit to Liwonde,Machinga.

Posted: June 21, 2016

By: Elaine P

Hope all goes well on your travels.

Posted: July 03, 2016

By: Micheal Bentley Taylor

Dear Rajiv

Wonderful to get your email.
Hope you can get out into some of the bush clinics where the real challenges lie.
Beware Africa changes one!
The needs are so great
The poverty so pervasive
Multitasking is essential
You are a general surgeon as well !!
May the Lord use your skills as a servant
Our prayers

Mike Bentley-Taylor

Posted: July 03, 2016

By: Fareedah Lila

Hello Dr. Singal.

You ROCK!!!

As an African, I am beyond happy, ecstatic, that you are helping fellow Africans.
I would love to help in any capacity, please let me know where n when I can.

Be blessed


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