NKHOMA, Malawi – The African village of Nkhoma, its mission community, and hospital are located 60km south of Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, 15km east of the main road running from Lilongwe to Blantyre.
What was established as a missionary base of operations with a single doctor in 1915, has continues to grow under the oversight of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian.
The hospital “provides primary health care to a population of 60,000 and referral care to approximately 450,000” in rural east Africa.
Although the patient to doctor ratio is 50,000 to one, the hospital is instrumental in bringing medical aid and healing to a region where, “[if] you get cancer, that is it. You are finished.” The patient to doctor ration in the United States is 400 to one.
When Dr. Catherine Hodge moved to Malawi in 2014, Nkhoma Hospital has a pediatric ward, but no doctors to care for the children. She and her husband, both medical missionaries, opened a neonatal ward in 2015. The opening of that unit has brought to mothers that their newborns will survive.
The hospital must do the best they can in the place where they are desperately needed. Keep electricity and water flowing can be everyday problems, but the hospital has had a significant impact on the health of people living in an area afflicted diseases from malaria to aids.
Progress has been evident in 50 percent reduction rates in the maternal mortality rate each year from 2008 to 2010 while total deliveries increased by 35 percent over the same period.
Although reliable statistics are not available prior to 2010, the mortality rate in the 52-bed children’s ward is less than two percent. A large reason for this is that parents are bringing children for treatment closer to the onset rather than waiting until it is too late to provide adequate treatment.
In addition to triage and surgical wards, the hospital has renown Eye Unit that, in cooperation with CBM (formerly the Christian Blind Mission), is focusing on eradicating avoidable blindness and visual impairment. The unit has conducted over 30,000 cataract surgeries since 2000.
In November 2017, Standard Bank donated 5.6 million Kwacha (Malawi currency) as “a continuation of the bank’s efforts to play a part in contributing to well-being and good health of Malawians.”
Sources: Daily Record, CBN News, The Nyasa Times, CIA World Factbook