Kilema Hospital is situated in the Moshi region of Tanzania on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. It is run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Kilimanjaro and has a catchment of around 228,000. This was the very first hospital in this area to be set up by the European missionaries.
They chose this site – high up on a hill – because the place was too high for the mosquitoes so there is virtually no malaria caught in the area. The place is beautiful, and pine trees (planted by the missionaries to remind them of home) grow alongside lemon and orange trees. To reach the hospital it is necessary to travel on very poor roads up the slope of the mountain and in the rainy season this is virtually but not quite impossible. Years of rains and poor upkeep have turned the only road to the hospital into a rutted dried up river bed in the dry season. Because of their position they have a good supply of clean water from the hills above.
The hospital is today recognised by the Government as a Designated District Hospital, which means the staff salaries are paid, but the subsidies in no way cover all the hospital’s expenses. Inter Care medicines enable the very poorest to be treated free. Dr Ignace Massawe and his team look after the 150 bedded hospital which has to cope with very little in the way of equipment.
Inter Care visited the hospital in September 2009 and saw the beautiful new care and treatment centre for HIV patients which has 973 patients registered. They are cared for by 3 Clinicians, 2 Pharmacists, 3 Counsellors and 1 Community Liaison Officer. The unit is clearly well organised and used by the people. It was evident that they still need the support of medicines from Inter Care including Patients With Aids (PWA) parcels.
On a visit in August 2011, we found that the hospital appeared to be well run, they had Male, Female, Obstetric and Gynaecological wards in addition to maternity and childrens wards and an out-patient department which saw around 70 patients per day. They also performed major surgery and had visits from an eye surgeon. They had an orphan support scheme which gave help to 210 orphans providing them with food and education (the word orphan often means a child who has lost one parent). Many are orphans as a result of AIDS and are being cared for by grandparents or older siblings. The program encourages the children to remain within the community with family members and does home visits.