St Joseph’s Mission Hospital in Malawi is a large facility. They serve a catchment area of 53,000 people. Even though the hospital has a healthy number of healthcare staff and departments, it struggles to support patients who are unable to pay for their treatment. This mission hospital has to make difficult decisions everyday.
On our visit to the hospital, we speak with Dr John, the Clinical Officerand ask him about the challenges.
What do you do when you have limited medical aid?
Because of limited diagnosis equipment, we mostly have to use a clinical diagnosis to assess patients, based upon their symptoms.
What are the biggest decisions you have to face?
We have many HIV patients here, other key health issues include malaria, pneumonia… traffic accidents. Medicines are a critical part of treating a patient [so] we’ll try and prescribe an alternative treatment rather than leave the patient with nothing.
From what you see, what makes St Joseph’s Hospital so busy and challenging?
We receive large numbers of patients, not just from the local area, but people come from further afield. There are government hospitals closer to them [but] the patients would often have to purchase the prescribed medicines, so they prefer to come here. Also the care here is more compassionate.
How Inter Care helps us…
Inter Care helps John by sending diagnosis equipment e.g. stethoscopes, blood pressure machines and ear thermometers. Products such as bed sheets, bed gowns and crutches help too.
“Patients stay in the beds in their own clothes, and sometimes they bring their own bed sheets and whilst this helps save money, it has an impact on the rate of infections.”