The CCAP Nkhoma Synod’s Department of Health consists of the Nkhoma Hospital, ten health centers, the Nkhoma Nurse College ( where about 50 nurses are trained per year) and several other developing health structures.
The Nkhoma Hospital, which in 1915 began with only a few huts, is today a general 220-bed district hospital. Dr Reynier Ter Haar is the medical director of the hospital and is supported by a team of skilled medical and administrative staff.
In the last few years considerable progress has been made in the prevention of mother and child mortalities. In 2008 there were 31 maternal mortalities during or after childbirth. In 2015, it decreased to 3! The improvement requires effective interaction with the surrounding clinics and better care during recording.
The improvement requires more interaction with the surrounding clinics and better care during admission. The hospital could also ensure better care for the community in fighting malaria by means of an indoor spray program. In the children’s ward it resulted to an average of more than 50% reduction in infant patient admissions.
The Eye Department is an important component of the hospital’s service, and in particular cataract surgery allows more than 2 500 patients to see again each year. It was initially started by Dr Retief and expanded by Dr Blignaut.
Besides the ten health centres that are managed by the Nkhoma Hospital, patients with maternity complications (especially from five surrounding clinics) are referred to Nkhoma Hospital for further treatment. An ambulance and medical team are also sent out on Tuesdays to inform pregnant women about prenatal care and to do the immunization of babies and kids in an effort to bring medical care closer to the community.
For the last 3 years, the hospital and surrounding clinics examined more than 18,000 women for the most common cancer in women, namely cervical cancer. If abnormality is perceived, more than 80% of patients receive treatment the same day. A small group usually have to undergo surgery. Unfortunately, for a few it’s too late and we can only offer palliative care.
Palliative support is also rendered to AIDS and terminal patients and the training of the staff of non-governmental organizations in the medical field .
After 5 years of trying, the Nkhoma Hospital (in collaboration with the University of Malawi) finally started to train already-qualified doctors for a further four years in what is called “Family Medicine”. The unique challenges that African countries offer medical care necessitates a group of doctors who are surgically more savvy than the average family doctor. Die limited financial resources, necessitates that doctors must focus on what is happening in the communities outside the hospital and should make a “community diagnosis” and decide which initiatives can be used to address the problems. The rural location of the hospital is ideal for doctors to come and learn in this uniquely situated environment how to address these challenges.
Come and visit us! Nkhoma is only 80 km from the international airport near the capital, Lilongwe. Come and experience the warm heart of Africa with its friendly people despite dire poverty and medical challenges.
Dr. Tim Fader (Medical Director)