Going into Zomba Central Hospital, we had no idea what to expect. It was an eye opening experience that we will never forget. Walking up to the buildings, they looked run-down compared to the medical facilities we have in the United States. There were people walking around the grounds, almost like it was a bustling marketplace. We had the opportunity to meet with the specialists at the hospital, as well as the chief nursing executor. They provided wonderful insight about the challenges that the hospital faces, as well as the progress they have made. We then were fortunate enough to go on a tour of the hospital.
It was shocking to learn the nurse to patient ratio—one nurse to 20-40 patients on a good day. Each ward consisted of one large room, with multiple beds inside. It’s hard to put into words the conditions of the patients and their families there. So much of what we take for granted in the United States—clean gloves, gowns, isolation precautions, sometimes electricity & private rooms—was lacking. We returned from the visit humbled and with a new appreciation for the healthcare system that we are blessed with in the States. The frustrations we are familiar with regarding healthcare in the United States do not even scratch the surface of the healthcare system here and what we saw today. We all walked away from our trip forever changed.
Written By: Allie Schindler and Molly Babb, Xavier Nursing Students
Smartex G. Tambala says
I have had many family members who died in that hospital or shall I say continue to die or treated. As I was growing up that was my hospital because I am from Zomba etc.
Remember being admitted for malaria when I was young etc
I have been away so long…. I am just wondering what was your experience and what do you think can be done to improve the hospital or the patient care specifically the Zomba general hospital. I reside in Canada although I have lived in the USA and may be going back to work soon
Gillian Stokes says
I would love to know what the hospital was like and see any pictures. I was born there in the early morning hours of 1st January 1961, but was still a baby when my parents left Malawi.
peter schofield says
Project Malawi: More than ten years ago I was privileged to be able to Support a Surgeon commissioned to Malawi from Perth, Western Australia. His tenure was meant to be at Blantyre Malawi, but at the last minute he was sent to Zomba. The Zomba General Hospital was at that stage very run down and the Government were considering abandoning and closing the Hospital.
Most of Perth Western Australia was involved in rallying to raise medical equipment and medical supplies and volunteer staff to set up 2 new laboratories in the Hospital. Shipping Container loads and numerous Emergency Airfreight cargo pallets were flown to Zomba. The stories that we heard, include diagnosing Bubonic Plague, bodies laying in swilling body fluids in and out of surgery rooms, using a wifes sewing kit to stitch surgical wounds, no anesthetics, the stories are too graphic to list..
Long story short, A complete about face occured with the Malawi Government instead of closing it down, chose to expand it to a Central Hospital…
The continued support would then come from World Vision. I must admit, I never visited Malawi, and I haven’t inquired since about World Visions efforts… Perhaps I would like to Go to Zomba Malawi and see for myself what has happened.