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 standards we are used to in the 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. We had wonderful conversations 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.
We were shocked at 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 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 used to at home regarding healthcare do not even scratch the surface of the healthcare system here and what we were exposed to today. We all walked away forever changed.
Written By: Allie Schindler and Molly Babb, Xavier Nursing Students