A FIFA delegation is in Malawi for a pilot research on Football Nurses project which is aimed at developing community and strength based, task sharing approach (Football Nurse) to actively recruit and train nurses as pitchside responders in grassroots women’s football.
The delegation comprises FIFA Group Leader Development programmes Solomon Mudege, FIFA Women’s Football Officer Salome Liyambo and two Women’s Football Consultants Dr. Nonhanhla Mkumbuzi from University of Cape Town and Dr Enock Chisati from Kamuzu University of Heath Sciences
The four on Monday met representatives from Women’s Football across the country to get insights on medical issues in Women’s Football.
The project will actively include nurses into sports and exercise medicine practice in low-income settings like Malawi which will provide an effective, affordable, and sustainable solution to bridge the treatment gap that female football players currently face.
FAM President Walter Nyamilandu commended FIFA for piloting the project in Malawi saying it shows confidence the World governing body has in Malawi Women’s Football Structures.
“It is an honour and privilege that FIFA has chosen Malawi to pilot this project the whole world. It shows we have structures that can deliver because if not FIFA would not have come here. We embrace it fully and will ensure that it is successful.
“We have a lot of challenges in medical aspects in our game especially for the Women’s football. As a country we have only concentrated and invested more in the technical aspect of the game and paid little attention to the Medical and management of injuries which is vital for players to deliver. So we will work with FIFA to make this work,” said Nyamilandu.
Mudege said FIFA is committed to finding solutions for countries like Malawi to deal with medical issues problems thus the research.
According to Dr Mkumbuzi, this pilot project will be a randomised control trial with teams in the Women’s Football League in Malawi. A cohort of 24 nurses will receive a seven-day training in basic football medicine using the latest version of the FIFA Football Medicine training manuals.
After which they will be attached to a total of 12 female football teams during one competitive season. Their roles within the teams will include basic health screening; assessment, immediate care, and referral of injuries; as well as maintaining records of player health.
The Football Nurses will be directly supervised by and report to a PT or doctor in their district to whom they will refer serious injuries, refer for investigations, or further management.
The selected teams and nurses will be followed up for one season and project evaluation will be conducted periodically throughout the season and at the end of the program.
The teams with Football Nurses will be compared to other teams that will not have Football Nurses. The main variables compared between the teams will include awareness and practice of injury prevention programs, and incidence and prevalence of injuries/illnesses.