What is LION?
Malawi is one of the 10th poorest countries in the world and hand pathology and injuries are often neglected. Resources to treat patients are limited. The Lilongwe Institute of Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery (LION) is a new purpose built healthcare facility attached to the Kamuzu Central Hospital, which is the main public Hospital in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi.

What is the BSSH LION Hand Service?
The BSSH LION Hand Service is a formal partnership between the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, the British Association of Hand Therapists and the Lilongwe Institute of Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery in Malawi. The aim is to support the orthopaedic service at LION in the development of subspecialist skills in hand surgery that will aid delivery of treatment to patients with elective and traumatic conditions of the hand.

Over a period of 5 years, commencing in January 2023, BSSH and BAHT will provide the continuous presence of a volunteer Hand Surgeon, a volunteer Hand Therapist and a volunteer Hand Trainee at LION. Volunteers will work with local surgeons, therapists and trainees to develop and deliver a subspecialised hand service, engaging in training at all levels and helping to treat the large numbers of Malawian patients with hand problems. It is the aspiration of BSSH, BAHT and LION that at the end of 5 years, the local surgeons will be sufficiently experienced to run the Hand Unit autonomously, with BSSH and BAHT withdrawing to a background level of support.
Volunteers are encouraged to offer a minimum of 6 weeks of their time. Four week spells will occasionally be considered, especially if the individual has prior experience of working in a low resource setting.

Volunteers can expect airfares to and from Malawi at either end of the volunteer period to be funded. Support will be given in applying for visas and medical registration, and the fees paid. Medical indemnity and insurance will be covered. Accommodation in a house with other members of the team will be provided along with basic subsistence (food, services, Wi-Fi) and transport to the hospital and to and from the airport in Malawi. There will be no salary or other expenses.

Volunteers wishing to contribute to their fares or self-fund, particularly for shorter visits, would be most welcome to, as this will help ensure the longer-term viability of the project.
Application and selection process
Recruitment will be managed by the BSSH and BAHT via an application and informal interview. The successful candidates will be asked to provide written confirmation of the agreed volunteer period.