Bryony Pannell is a doctor from the UK who has come to work at the Partners in Hope Medical Center (PIH) five different times, and plans to come again. Though she had never considered working as a doctor in Africa, an advertisement through the Christian Medical Fellowship caught her attention. She recalls, “I tried to ignore it, but found myself going back to the web page again and again, and eventually emailed Perry [director of PIH]… I still probably hoped nothing would come of it!”

Over time, her heart changed and she made the decision to go to Malawi. “I felt clearly called to hand in my notice at work, and God slowly revealed His plans to me.” In preparation, she went to Liverpool University to study the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Bryony said, “The teaching in the diploma was excellent, and covered many topics that have really helped me in Partners in Hope.”

After working at PIH for a while, she observed, “There seemed to be little similar to medical practice at PIH and my GP work in the UK! The most familiar part of the work was the ordinary general practice, but it is very different doing it in a resource poor country. There is lots of AIDS medicine and many more seriously ill patients than the average surgery in the UK. The diploma helped me, and also the doctors at PIH were really good at helping me to get to grips with it.”

She added, “One of the very satisfying things about the work is being aware of becoming increasingly competent. It is immensely satisfying when you treat someone who is very ill, and they improve. I tend to offer most patients a prayer at the end of a consultation and many times I find their response to that small thing I can do for them quite overwhelming.”

When asked what she would say to other doctors thinking about coming to Malawi to help, Bryony said, “If you feel God calling you, pray about it and come! If like me you feel you're not good enough, don't let that stop you. It is an amazing and life-changing experience. It is a privilege to be called.”