LIN Malawi’s Country Representative Rebecca Mtegha shares a note on what it means to work during the pandemic. She leads a team that supports more the than 200 health facilities.

Partipants attend an in-house training on electronic medical record system installation and maintenance on Zoom.

For over a year, the entire world has come to a standstill. The way we interact and socialize has changed. We no longer shake hands, hug or sit close to one another. The way we learn and work has changed across the world. Now the common saying is, “wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance”; also known as the 3Ws. Malawi is not exempted, as it too has suffered the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have lost many loved ones as well as time and this is expected to follow us into the future. Statistical regressions on available data, on how cases have been exploding of late, affirm this assertive projection. Now the question that’s lingering in most people’s minds is “should we stop during the pandemic?” You may want to agree with my answer, “NO”. The pandemic is real, but we shouldn’t let it stop us from pursuing progress and working to change the world. Even in the light of the Covid-19 apparition, what may be the ‘new normal’, it is possible for us to continue with our daily lives, while practicing basics such as social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and being cautious in our traveling. The pandemic offers us the opportunity to come together from the very distant places we are found, whilst developing new and innovative solutions that allow us to maintain social contact and productivity. It’s possible to get work done and be productive even in the middle of the chaos.

Most recently, our team at Luke International organized an in-house training which was virtually administered for the first time. The 1-week long training was organized by the Health Information Systems department as part of capacity building in system installation, updates and system configuration for Malawi’s electronic medical records systems. The training was interactive as staff members were able to make valuable input about several aspects of their daily work.The success of this training shows that it is possible to work remotely and affordably. There are options such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and other communication software at our disposal. May we not be limited to traditional settings, but consider the new.

As Martin Luther King Jr once said “If you cannot run, then walk. If you cannot walk, then crawl. Whatever you do, do not stop moving.” By no means can we afford the effects of not moving. In such unprecedented times, all kinds of progress are welcome, no matter how small they may seem. May we not give up and may the pandemic not be a stumbling block but rather a source of motivation to be creative. We must believe that we will get over this, thus continue to work in the meantime. This too we can and shall overcome. We need only to play our vital roles in masking up, practicing social distance, washing hands and staying at home as much as we can. The odds may be against us but that is exactly how we will win.

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