Nkhoma Hospital

Child after being treated for measles and malnutrition.

Child after being treated for measles and malnutrition.

Malawi

Overview

  • Hospital beds – 220
  • Total Staff – 250
  • In Patient Admissions – 13,889
  • Outpatient Visits – 39,636
  • Maternity Deliveries – 2,903

Target Areas for Sustainable Impact

  • Reduction in rates of pediatric permanent blindness
  • Reduction in adult blindness
  • Improved management of chronic illnesses affecting adults as a result of modern living habits
  • Reduction in maternal mortality and infant mortality

Nkhoma Hospital is a large and vital regional institution providing a wide variety of medical services to its community. Working with an inpatient capacity of 220 beds, Nkhoma Hospital has five separate buildings for patient care including pediatrics, maternity, general medical, surgery, ophthalmology and a 24-bed TB unit. In addition, Nkhoma serves as a referral center for an extensive satellite system of smaller hospitals and clinics.

Malnutrition and food supply are primary concerns in this land locked, densely populated country. In the rural areas, over fifty percent of the children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. Nearly sixty percent of all households do not have adequate food security. Children are usually referred to the Nutritional Rehab Center from the hospital and stay two to three weeks with their mothers. The mothers go home with new knowledge on balanced nutritional diets, food preparation, and seeds for gardens. They can return each week for food supplements.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA new Malawi doctor added to the hospital staff, supervises the maternity ward, where many premature births have previously resulted in a high rate of infant deaths. Now the mothers in early labor are treated with a steroid to help the tiny premature babies breathe more easily and survive.

The new Kangaroo Nursery and high risk nursery care for critically ill newborns. Many of the mothers of these tiny babies have extremely complicated pregnancies, and are even at risk of losing their own lives. They come long distances to get to the hospital – some by bicycle or oxcart. Most had given up hope that they could have a living child, but joyfully are able to hold their little ones in their arms.

A renewed cancer screening project has evaluated roughly 12,000 women since October 2013. Of those screened, 120 women (a full 10% of all women screened!) were diagnosed with cervical cancer. This early diagnosis made it possible for clinic nurses to freeze the abnormal areas and treat the disease. Without this early intervention, cervical cancer becomes terminal, with a prolonged and painful death.

The hospital has an extensive Public Health program including community clinics held weekly in several locations. Workers on bicycles and motorbikes follow up TB cases in the villages. They are often able to identify the early stages of other illnesses and assist in getting patients to the hospital. The prenatal clinic sees about 260 expectant mothers each week. The hospital has a Family Planning Clinic on site as well as four mobile clinics. Family planning is being taught to village representatives, who in turn provide information to fellow villagers.

Nkhoma Hospital also serves as a training institution. A nursing school at the hospital can train over 100 general nurse midwives at a time. They hope to expand to include post graduate training in the future.