Blantyre is the second largest city with an estimated 1,068,681 inhabitants as of 2015. It is however the largest and industrial capital of Malawi. It is a transport communications node with road, rail, and air links to all parts of the country. Blantyre city lies in a hilly area; it has varied topography ranging from an elevation pf about 780 to 1,612 metres above sea level. The most conspicuous and dominant physical features are the numerous hills found in all parts of the city. The main hills are the headwaters of several rivers and streams which originate and radiate from the city.
The climate of Blantyre is greatly influenced by its location in the tropical zone and climate. The city experiences two distinct seasons in a year. The rainy season is from November to April, with continuing light cold showers locally known as Chiperoni from end of May to October. The dry season is from May to October. The city is generally cool with mean monthly temperatures ranging 190 C during the cool season to 260 C during the hot season.
College of Medicine is under the government of Malawi. It was founded in 1991. Its chancellor is the president of Malawi. The college is mandated to train doctors, pharmacist, physiotherapists and laboratory technicians to improve Malawi’s health system. Its clinical placements happen in different hospitals in Malawi but mainly in referral hospitals. However, for the sake of this electives, the only available hospital is Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre city.
QECH is the largest hospital in Blantyre and the main referral hospital for the southern region of Malawi. It has the largest malnutrition ward in Africa. The newly opened Accident and Emergency Trauma Centre is reducing the death rate among hospital admissions and can provide disaster preparedness facility that can cope with major incidents. Limited laboratory, X ray and ultrasound capabilities exist
Flight to Blantyre:
All international flights have the option to land in either the capital Blantyre (Chileka International Airport). Regional links between Malawi and Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are provided by Malawi Airlines and some of the national airlines of those countries.
Entering Malawi by road:
There are road routes into Malawi from Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. All international travel requirements are necessary. Once inside the country, it is easy to go to different places by road which are all connected to the main route “the M1 road” which runs from one far end of the country to another.
The LC will then be responsible to guide the incoming students to their area of residence and a brief tour of the hospital.
Lake Malawi is the brightest jewel in Malawi’s crown. It is the 9th largest lake in the world and the 3rd largest and 2nd deepest lake in Africa. It is home to more species of fish than any other lake, including at least 700 species of cichlid.
One cannot come to Malawi and leave the country without visiting Lake Malawi. Trips to go to the lake can be arranged during weekends.
The other must see place is Mulanje mountain. This mountain is found in the southern part of Malawi. The mountain is composed of seynite, quarts-seyinite and granite rock materials. The structure and altitude of the mountain have led to the development of a unique climate for the area, which is charaterised by high rainfalls from November to April. This climate favours the development of unique ecology of rare and endemic life forms which contribute to the massif's high biodiversity
These are just two of the numerous exquisite places in Malawi.
Malawi is commonly referred to as “the warm heart of Africa”. This phrase really summarizes Malawians because they are very friendly and welcoming. Verbal greetings are usually accompanied by a handshake. In terms of dressing, at the hospital you are encouraged to wear formal clothes but outside working hours you can wear clothes that you are comfortable in.
ATMs are almost everywhere and one can withdraw money using a visa card. Drinking alcoholic drinks and smoking is allowed outside working hours however other drugs like cocaine and marijuana are illegal. Electricity can sometimes be a problem but the hospital has backup generators.