Malawi is located in south, central Africa. It is one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 170th out of 186 countries on the Human Development Index. According to the United Nations Development Program, about 74 percent of the population still lives below the income poverty line of $1.25 a day and 90 per cent below the $2 a day threshold. The poor and ultra-poor is highest in rural areas of the southern and northern parts of the country.
As in most impoverished countries, the healthcare needs of women and children often go untreated resulting in unnecessary mortality rates. According to UNICEF, the mortality rate in Malawi for children under the age of 5 is 83:1000. For infants under the age of 1 this increases to 131:1000 and, for women during childbirth, the mortality rate is 510:100,000 as compared to 24:100,000 in the United States.
The predominant illnesses in Malawi are malaria, pneumonia, anemia, malnutrition, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS related illnesses. The average life expectancy is 48 years, which reflects the high mortality rates from malaria and HIV/AIDS.
1. CCAP Synod of Livingstonia Health Department
The Synod of Livingstonia, Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, continues to develop a wide variety of community-based, income generating, and self-help projects that support women, youth, and development ministries.
The Health Department of the Synod of Livingstonia exists to provide health care services, promote health and proclaim a clear Christian witness through 3 hospitals which include Ekwendeni Hospital, Embangweni Hospital and David Gordon Memorial Hospital. These hospitals and their clinics provide curative, preventive, and rehabilitative services to patients in their catchment area, irrespective of their religious affiliation.
2. Ekwendeni Hospital and Nursing School, Mzuzu
Ekwendeni Hospital – Located in Mzuzu in northern Malawi, Ekwendeni first began providing medical care in the late 1890s. This 240 bed facility serves a catchment area of 45,000 with a wider referral area of 120,000. This hospital sees over 21,000 out-patients every year, of which over 6,000 are usually admitted. They accommodate 2,500 births annually. This hospital has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in Malawi.
Ekwendeni College of Nursing – The nursing school, located adjacent to Ekwendeni Hospital, has trained students for more than 50 years. Currently there are 194 students in the three year program, earning a Diploma in Nursing and Midwifery.
Malawi is a country of 13 million people yet there are less than 3 nurses for every 10,000 people. Nurses form the backbone of medical care in Malawi, providing nursing and midwife care in hospitals and community and rural health clinics. [For more information click here]
3. Embangweni Hospital, Embangweni
Founded in 1902, this hospital has provided care for millions of Malawians for over 100 years. This 145-bed hospital is located in the southern part of Mzimba district in northern Malawi.
The hospital serves a population of about 100,000 people, with referral cases often coming from much further away, including Zambia. The hospital operates four remote clinics located in Kalikumbi, Mabiri, and Mpasazi. Embangweni has approximately 2,000 deliveries annually. [For more information click here]
4. David Gordon Memorial Hospital, Livingstonia
The David Gordon Hospital is a 144 bed mission hospital situated on a plateau 3000 feet above Lake Malawi and with panoramic views across the lake to the Tanzanian mountains 60 miles away. The Hospital was established by Scottish Presbyterian missionaries in 1910, and came under the control of the Synod of Livingstonia of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian about forty years ago.
The Hospital and its associated Health Clinics serve a population of about 45,000 in the Northern part of Malawi. At present the Hospital has an Outpatient Department, a Male and a Female/Paediatric ward and a Maternity Unit. There is also an operating theatre, a small laboratory, an X-ray unit, a Pharmacy and a Dental Unit.
5. Mulanje Mission Hospital, Mulanje
One of five historic Presbyterian mission hospitals in Malawi, Mulanje has grown from a maternity hospital to a 204-bed general hospital with a men’s ward, a pediatric unit and an outpatient department. The hospital complex also includes a nursing school. It is well known as a women’s health center, and women travel from great distances to southern Malawi to seek life-changing fistula repair surgery as well as cervical cancer screening and treatment.
6. Nkhoma Hospital and Nursing School, Nkhoma
Nkhoma Hospital, located in central Malawi just south of its capital Lilongwe, In 1889 South African missionaries established this mission. This is a large and vital institution providing a wide variety of medical services to its community. This clinic has an inpatient capacity of 220 beds, and when combined with their prenatal clinic, they see about 260 expectant mothers each week. Nkhoma has a family planning clinic on site as well as four mobile clinics. The hospital provides general medicine, surgery, including fistula repair procedures, pediatrics, maternity, and ophthalmology. Mobile clinics for children under five and pregnant women are offered. A Nutritional Rehabilitation Unit has served malnourished children for over 20 years.
Nkhoma Nursing School is building a stronger well-trained cadre of nurses in Malawi. The nursing school building at Nkhoma Hospital was largely funded via USAID grants in partnership with MBF. This school is now graduating about 30 nurses per year. These students are able to receive a great education in a clean, bright, professional and well-maintained facility.
With an acute shortage of medical professionals, nurses from this school are virtually guaranteed a job upon graduation. Unfortunately, since the government provides for much of the scholarship funding, many of the graduates are required to take a job within a government hospital, away from their community.[For more information click here]
Jim and Jodi McGill
Jim and Jodi McGill have been under appointment as mission co-workers since 1995. Their most recent assignment, which began in 2000, is in Mzuzu, Malawi, just two hours from Embangweni. Jim and Jodi moved to Mzuzu in order to widen the scope of their work to include the entire synod.
Jim serves in the Synod of Livingstonia as program coordinator for protected water and sanitation throughout the Synod focusing on methods to achieve and maintain 100% coverage for latrine use and safe water supply. After moving to Mzuzu, Jodi became the Synod’s coordinator for primary health care and at the same time also took on the work of interim coordinator for the AIDS department. She currently teaches part-time at the Ekwendeni College of Nursing and administrates the Synod’s Secondary School Scholarship Fund.
Prior to their move to Mzuzu in 2000, Jodi was a staff nurse on the wards of Embangweni Hospital. She treated patients in the outpatient department, assisted with administration, and worked with Malawian counterparts to develop and implement primary health-care projects.
Barbara Nagy is an MBF-supported mission co-worker who has served as a physician at Nkhoma Hospital in central Malawi since 2004. Currently, she and her 3 daughters, Melia, Anna and Happiness, are in the US where Barbara recently completed a rigorous Masters of Public Health program at Emory University in Atlanta. Near to her heart, her thesis was on malaria bed net use in Malawian children. She received her degree in May and will return to Malawi in August.
Her goal is to use her education to strengthen the community health programs with preventive care for everyone in the Nkhoma area. The desired result is that it becomes a building block for nothing less than full community transformation!
This education also equips Barbara to live out her call to mission in Malawi, helping families and communities flourish physically, socially and spiritually. “We as a health care system have a part to play in facilitating that, and I am happy to have that opportunity entrusted by the Malawian church and our neighboring communities.”