Embangweni Hospital

Treating a patient with rat poisoning at the Embangweni hospital.

Treating a patient with rat poisoning at the Embangweni hospital.

Malawi

Overview

  • Hospital beds – 145
  • Total Staff – 247
  • In Patient Admissions – 5,016
  • Outpatient Visits – 11,653
  • Maternity Deliveries – 2,216

Target Areas for Sustainable Impact

  • Reduction in maternal mortality and infant mortality
  • Increasing access to primary healthcare services including treatment of malaria

Embangweni Hospital serves a population of 100,000 people from over 250 villages in a 35- mile radius in Northern Malawi. Malawi, with a population of ten million people, is one of the world’s poorest countries. Traveling to Embangweni can be difficult especially during the rainy months from November to April. Most of Embangweni’s patients are subsistence farmers, living in small villages with extended, very poor families.

Work to establish Embangweni Station was begun by missionaries at the end of the 19th Century. Clinical work by Dr. Fraser, a friend of Dr. David Livingstone, began in 1902. In 1926, the facility expanded to become a rural hospital. Additional buildings were constructed in 1924 and 1940. A maternity ward was added in 1966. During the 1970’s the hospital doubled its size from 38 to 77 beds. In 1989, the hospital greatly expanded its facilities and its services to include separate buildings for maternity, pediatrics, male and female general care, as well as an operating theater for major and minor surgeries and caesarian-section deliveries. Since then, it expanded to its current 145-bed capacity.

The health services offered at Embangweni Mission Hospital include maternity, pediatrics, HIV and AIDS palliative care and support, male and female general care, dental, X-ray, laboratory, surgery, orthopedic and community health services (maternal and child health, HIV and AIDS, sanitation).

happymothersmilingnewbornimckPoor patients now have access to free maternity care services at the hospital through a recent Malawi government program. However, the government SLA reimbursement does not cover the total actual cost of services and government payments are inconsistent and/or delayed, placing a financial burden on the hospitals. Through support of its US partners, MBF has entered into an agreement to help cover the amount for deliveries not included in the government SLA.

Embangweni is known for its provision of quality medical care with consistently high numbers of outpatients and a low inpatient death rate. They are committed to Primary Healthcare as the most effective and sustainable way to improve the health of the community. The greatest problem continues to be the shortage of nurses and trained doctors.

The hospital also provides an extensive outreach through 23 mobile clinics and four remote health centers, one of which is forty miles from Embangweni. Preventive services at the outreach clinics include maternal-child health, family planning, under-five vaccination clinics, nutrition, HIV and AIDS testing and ART treatments.

HIV/AIDS threatens the hospital on multiple fronts. The number of trained staff has been reduced by HIV infection, and the increased number of patients suffering from AIDS has placed an immense burden on the hospital. The falling life expectancy is depriving the hospital of an economically active patient base. While HIV/AIDS is the biggest challenge facing health personnel in Malawi, malaria continues to be the number one reason both adults and children are admitted to the hospital.

Through extended outreach programs Embangweni Hospital offers regular teaching about nutrition, HIV/AIDS, child spacing and maternal and child health. Additional development work includes education in agriculture, provision of protected wells for clean drinking water and income generating program for the villagers. To reduce maternal deaths, the hospital offers free treatment to antenatal and postnatal mothers. They also offer within the catchment area, free transport for maternity cases, orphans, poor widows, aged and those chronically ill.