Health Units We Support

  • "We are so proud of the donations received. The local community is very poor and couldn't afford to pay for medicines otherwise. The donations are saving lives." (Visit October 2019)

    - Patrick Mthanyama - Medical Assistant, Tsangano Health Centre, Malawi
  • "We assure you that these supplies will be used well for the good of the patients. You are a true partner." (20ft Shipping Container July 2019)

    - Dr Patrick Turay, Holy Spirit Hospital, Sierra Leone
  • "The whole lots of things you have been donating to us, have us to render quality and affordable health care to our people... you see the joy and excitement for this sack. Thank you" (Outreach Rucksack Consignment May 2019)

    - Sr Mary Laetitia Ofama, St Edwards Hospital, Ghana
  • "Thank you so much for the medicines you supported us with. The medicine is very useful to our facilities. My sister and I would like to say welcome again to our community of sisters" (Visit September 2017)

    - Sr Veronica Bite, Rosana Dispensary, Tanzania
  • "Thank you very much for the parcel you sent to us. We are really grateful for your generous hand. We received at the time when we were very much in need of the medicine." (Consignment in May 2019)

    - Sr Bwalya Agnes - Head Mistress, St Marys School for the Visually Impaired, Kawambwa, Zambia

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  • Hand in Hand, Peace of Christ Community (PPC), Nkoranza
  • Hand in Hand, Peace of Christ Community (PPC), Nkoranza

Hand in Hand, Peace of Christ Community (PPC), Nkoranza

PCC has no goverment support and relies on funds from the Dutch organisation Hand-in-hand, so the medicines from Inter Care are vital and much appreciated.

There are 80 disabled in-patients, many with severe mental problems, who are cared for by a doctor and three health professionals and about 40 carers.

Dr Albert van Galen is the Medical Director. He told us that problems with Health Insurance and the weakness of the Cedi, were making it very difficult to fund the unit, because all care and medicines are given free of charge.


The range of medicines requested from Inter Care is small but specialised, and they desperately need more drugs especially to treat epilepsy and related conditions.


All prescribing is done by a doctor, so it would safe to offer a wider range of epilepsy treatments, than is normally offered to Clinics. This unit is very well run and our donations are acknowledged and appreciated. Communication is good and e-mails answered quickly. Our continued support is vital.

(Visit, August 2014)

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  • St Martin’s Health Centre, Biu
  • St Martin’s Health Centre, Biu

St Martin’s Health Centre, Biu

What we saw…

The clinic has no doctor and is run by a Senior Medical Assistant, Mr Nubanue Padmore, six nurses and a pharmacy assistant. It is small but treats 1000 outpatients per month. It has 2 beds for day cases only. It has been refurbished since our last visit in 2010, and does vital work in this rural location, but it is still very basic.

They did 23 HIV tests on pregnant women last year, but have a grant to expand the testing and counselling unit this year. They also want to intensify their campaign to combat fungal infections.

The dispensary was chaotic and consisted of a bench, piled high with open packets and loose strips of tablets. Prescribing is done by Mr Padmore and some of the nurses. Without going into too much detail, the knowledge of some medicines and their uses in this unit is lacking. With some help of BNFs* , we can provide support to ensure they get the knowledge they desperately need.

We supply 10-15% of their medicines, so our contribution is important to them and greatly appreciated.

 

They would like more of the basic medicines such as amoxicillin, paracetamol, metronidazole and topical applications, especially to treat fungal infections and worms.

*The British National Formulary is a United Kingdom pharmaceutical reference book that contains a wide spectrum of information and advice on prescribing and pharmacology, along with specific facts and details about many medicines available on the UK National Health Service

(Visit, August 2014)

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  • Madonna Clinic
  • Madonna Clinic

Madonna Clinic

At first glance

Madonna Clinic is located a short way off the main Kumasi – Accra Road, a 45 minute drive south of Kumasi.  It is a small yet well-run clinic serving around 6,000 people.  The staff team number 17 including 1 medical assistant, 1 pharmacy assistant, 14 qualified nurses and 3 competent midwives who all assist the Sister in Charge Sr. Ansah.

The challenges

Madonna Clinic has close links with nearby St Anne’s Clinic which is another of Inter Care’s partner health units – Staff from both clinics co-operate ‘covering’ each other in the case of absence.  This tiny facility manages to fit 10 beds into four small wards for 120-200 Inpatient cases per month and, holds daily Outpatient clinics serving 10-15 patients per day including maternal child health, immunisation and general medical.  To sustain its services to the local population the clinic must be completely self-sufficient financially because it receives no government funding whatsoever and has no other support sources. When Inter Care last visited they proudly showed us the lab which we helped to provide. Staff can now test regularly for malaria, anaemia and perform urine analysis however, the lab had run out of HIV/AIDS test strips and were waiting on more from the government.

They have difficulties with the cost of the transportation of the medicines they need so, to help them Inter Care bi-annually send consignments of basic medicines to treat a range of common conditions e.g. malaria, throat infections and intestinal worms.

 

Sister in Charge Sr. Mary told us in September 2018 –

Since the arrival of the nebulizers from Inter Care in 2017 we have been able to promptly attend to all patients that had to travel few kilometres to the nearby district hospital to receive emergency. Also, patients were able to receive Salbutamol inhalers which they are able to use at home when the need arises – These inhalers are quite expensive for the average Ghanaian.

Secondly, dressing packs that were received have been able to serve deprived patients who could not afford wound care. Also wounds that were chronic has been successfully managed and patients have gained full recovery. Community members are not afraid to attend the clinic for wound care.  Thank you Inter Care.

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  • Kings Village, Tolon
  • Kings Village, Tolon
  • Kings Village, Tolon

Kings Village, Tolon

This is an account from one of our pharmaceutical partners, IHP who had the opportunity to visit Kings Village in June 2019

Purpose of the visit

I had the opportunity to visit King’s Village during a planned holiday to Ghana in June 2019. I arrived in Tamale on the 17th of June to a warm welcome from Ben and Marion Owusu-Sekyere. (The founders and original missionaries) The King’s Village is an impressive settlement of health, education and social care services to many of the people internally and the many surrounding villages.

The original purpose of my visit was to conduct mini audits of our medicines and related sites, to see how IHP medicines were contributing to the healthcare in the King’s Village and to see how we could improve our services to this community by working with other partners. It however became clear very quickly on meeting Ben and Marion that they wanted to share a strategic vision of the services they were providing and expanding on, in an area of Tamale where there was very little healthcare services. This was to enable IHP and other partners such as Inter Care who we work with, to support and target funding, products (medicines and medical equipment) appropriately. `

About King’s’ Village.

The King’s Village is a beautiful settlement of medical and educational facilities set in the beautiful garden of about 50 acres of land. The founders started from humble beginnings starting with a couple of sheltered buildings. This has now grown and expanded to a massive settlement of many educational, health and public health services spread around the beautiful surroundings of vegetation to serve many of the surrounding villages in Tamale. Please visit the website for details about the history of King’s Village to compliment this report. https://www.theKing’sVillage.org/

I was honoured to be given a tour of much of the village. They explained the history and development of the village over the years and their vision to provide more needed services in the future.

The new up and coming hospital

The first stop was to visit the building site of the new extended hospital. Their plan was to build a new hospital which would enable them to expand their maternity and children’s service, delivery suites wards, operating theatres and build a much needed a unit for men’s health. Their ambition is to provide a state-of-the-art hospital that would provide the needs of the community in this part of Tamale which relied heavily on the King’s Village for medical care. Their current facilities were already catering for 70-100 births per month and it was estimated that the new hospital would be able to operate at about 50% above that capacity in the future, with extra service possible through an increased number of inpatient beds.

King’s Village currently provides all surgeries except orthopaedic surgery.


They made a passionate request for anaesthetic machines, medical equipment, operating tools and medication to support their theatre services. They also needed scanners (old and new) for their obstetrics unit.


I met a mother with her little daughter of 3 years…

The daughter was called Rhianna. They were from one of the surrounding villages who expressed delight in the services that were provided at the King’s Village. Without prompting she mention the fact that the medicine she received from King’s Village throughout her pregnancy and her daughter’s birth were of high and good value and could be trusted. That made me smile.

The dispensary, medicines and healthcare programmes.

I visited the dispensary and spent quality time with the four-member team working in a pretty small air- conditioned room with space that was small but clearly worked and utilised well. They had a simple range of medicines covering drugs for hypertension, infectious diseases, communicable diseases, respiratory tract diseases such as asthma. They also had some syrups and inhalers for different conditions and the pharmacist pointed out some of the products that they had received from IHP. It was heart- warming to see some of our products being dispensed to patients.

Mr Frank Kumi, the pharmacist explained how they receive medicines from different donors but medicines from IHP were well sort for, because they came with a higher than average quality. This was because of long expiry dates of the meds* and the fact that they received medicines that their services needed not just any general medicine some of which may never be used. To emphasize this point, he showed me a huge pile of donations waiting to be destroyed because they did not meet their needs. It was very clear that our medicines played a significant part in supporting both patients and the King’s Village with their services.


There was a clear plea for more of our medicines because of the high quality and the fact that they enabled to provide the right standard of treatment for their community without the concern of falsified or fake medicines.


Frank explained that the National Health Insurance Service in Ghana (NHIS) had some policies that were counterproductive in supporting specialist care and therefore did not always cover all types of the medicines that patients need. He was particularly critical of the lack of provision of some basic medicines for mental care that are classified as specialist medicines by the NHIS, leaving many low-income families to fund it themselves or typically go without if the King’s Village could not provide these medicines. To help them provide holistic care to patients, Frank clearly requested more supplies of as many generic and general medicines (tablets, syrups and injections iv infusions etc) as possible to enable them put critical resources toward the procurement of the expensive and highly inaccessible specialist medicines that the community needs.

Another important point raised was that the reimbursement process for medicines procured through the Ministry of Health in Ghana was so protracted that funds were regularly locked up for long periods of time. As at the time of my visit about 13 months payment for medicines was owed the King’s Village.

I conducted a mini audit of the medicines, the storage and warehousing condition, their disposal of expired drugs and some of the processes they had in place to manage the dispensary. I found this to be adequate through we discussed areas of improvement, funding permitting.

We discussed the management of the community through health programmes. Frank saw the need to increase prevention programmes such as vaccination, sexual and family planning, public health initiatives etc but they did not have both the human and financial resources to develop them though he was trained and willing to implement them. We agreed to discuss this again as the closed nature of the population served by the King’s Village made it adequate for controlled programmes that could be evaluated for outcome and research purposes.

Mental Health Services

I visited the relatively new psychiatric unit which had been set up to serve the community. The service currently sees between 60-70 people a month. It originally operated only 2 days a week, but it is now providing service all week. The King’s Village was making a big effort to destigmatise mental health by encouraging people to attend their service for all medical treatments including mental health conditions. Carers on bicycles was sent out into the community to bring people with mental health conditions back into the service to be cared for and treated in the newly set up facilities.

I saw a patient called Mani…

A 45-year-old male patient who had been brought to the King’s Village because of seizure disorders caused by febrile fever from cerebral malaria sequelae and resulting in mental health problems. He had been managed over the months both as an in and outpatient and was now stable and was getting ready for discharged to be productive back in society. His story showed the importance of holistic management of mental health conditions with other conditions. The King’s Village is the only service where this is available for miles in this part of Tamale.

Simon, the lead in the Psychiatry service requested medicines such as carbamazepine, Sodium Valproate, Risperidone, Antidepressants and iv Lorazepam to help augment their services.

The Feeding and Nutritional centre

Malnutrition among babies and young children is above average in this community, so the King’s Village provides a service to treat these cases. I visited the nutritional centre where mothers brought children who were malnourished to live in the centre for many months until they were healthy and fit to go back home. The nutritional centre was a very impressive but simple set up for mothers and their babies where they are re-educated and taught to reintroduce high nutritional but simple meals and diets to their families, ensuring their children receive the right nutritional meals to stay healthy. What was most impressive about this centre is the duration that mothers, and children spend there before they are healthy enough to be discharged back into society. There were a couple of families that had spent more than 3 months within the centre.

Visit to a feeder Village -Kushiebo

Ben and Marion took me to Kushiebo which is a village about 10 miles away from the King’s Village, as an example of one of the many communities they serve. This was a very small village with not more than 50 people living in the community in huts surrounding the Chief’s hut. The setup of this small community with basic amenities gave a vivid picture of the challenges healthcare providers face in caring for its communities. Despite their very basic existent the Chief of Kushiebo presented me with two dozen of guinea fowl eggs to welcome me into their community.

Summary & conclusion

Ben and his newly appointed general manager, Daniel Damian called a meeting of 6 of their board members to meet with me to summarise my visit and expressed their gratitude and to ask for feedback of my time with them. It gave me the opportunity to express my gratitude for accepting me there on behalf of IHP and to acknowledge the extent of their work in Tamale. I expressed my amazement of what can be done when one takes a step of faith based on what the Lord can do as was chartered by the 16-year history of the King’ Village. I promised to take their story and the on- going needs back to IHP to see how we can better support them in the future. The meeting ended with a prayer.


Declarations:

I was given 1 dozen of guinea fowl eggs as a gift from the Chief of Kushiebo’s compound which I grateful received. As Ghanaian custom requires, I gave the chief of the village we visited, a small gift 50 cedis (approximately £10) to thank him for his warmth and hospitality to me and to acknowledge the partnership he has with the King’s Village.

I was given a beautiful Batakari dress by the management team of King’s Village as a gift when leaving. Batakari is a woven material which is ingenious to the Northern and Upper regional tribes of Ghana.


Thank you to IHP for sharing their story with us. We are so grateful that you took the opportunity to visit one of our partner health centres. We look forward to working closer with you in the future. – Inter Care team.

*we can only accept medical aid with 12 months to expiry date

(Visit, June 2019)

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  • St Joseph’s Hospital, Jirapa
  • St Joseph’s Hospital, Jirapa

St Joseph’s Hospital, Jirapa

At first glance…

This hospital is large and easy to find on the main street. We visited Dr Richard Wodah, Medical Director who told us about their cash-flow problems caused by the collapse of the Ghanaian National Insurance scheme, which has run out of funds. Sadly the overwhelming majority of his patients are insured by this scheme and these payments are all at least six months in arrears.  Most of the hospital funding comes from the government plus a small local supplement.


Dr Wodah has therefore had to be pro-active in seeking out and obtaining help from charities i.e. Inter Care, Motec and Jacob’s Well have since come to their aid.


We also learn that like many areas of Africa it is difficult to recruit doctors in NW Ghana and were not entirely surprised to find that Dr Wodah is the only Doctor in this 193 bed hospital (!). Luckily for his patients, he is extremely well organised with a large team that includes 102 nurses, 3 Medical Assistants, a pharmacist, a pharmacy assistant, 4 technicians, 41 midwives and a visiting dentist and ophthalmologist. Their facilities include; an Outpatient dept. that sees 350 patients per day and a good laboratory which can perform basic tests. The pharmacy is extremely busy and is hampered by a lack of IT systems and equipment e.g. labels and records are written by hand – a slow process.

How Inter Care help…

The order for medicines from Inter Care is made by the pharmacist George Dabuo who is well informed i.e. he only orders medicines with which the medical staff is familiar.

On our visit, we saw clear evidence of Inter Care drugs being used to treat patients free of charge as per our working agreement.

Overall, the team at this hospital are highly motivated and are appreciative of the aid Inter Care provides. For the future, as the hospital serves a large area of 101,000 plus population we would like to increase our supplies to them where possible. E.g. they especially need more antifungals plus all types of dressings and instruments.

Inter Care support with bi-annual consignments containing a range of medical products including basic medicines and dressings.

 

(Visit, August 2014)

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  • Nzama Health Centre
  • Nzama Health Centre
  • Nzama Health Centre

Nzama Health Centre

Our day at Nzama – 29th October 2019

Arrival

We spent 2 nights at Nzama HC, a very remote clinic along an extremely poor quality road. There is a new road being built but far from being ready so, along with poverty and unemployment transport is also a real problem. Sister Juliana is a sister of huge character and is a very a positive lady. All the sisters made us most welcome except for the cockerel who started crowing too early for sleeping!

The water and electricity is available and working perhaps 75% of the time. The medical assistant is Sister Theresa. Sister Juliana is wanting to recruit another medical assistant but before she can do so, she has to finish building a house for the new recruit – Thankfully it is almost ready!

At first glance
They have a new purpose-built Pharmacy, which was the best we saw on our entire trip.  It has its own generator and air conditioning unit, a big relief from the heat of the outdoors!

We were informed that many of the patients must walk long distances, perhaps up to 4hrs and 50% of the patients are from Mozambique. They have a very old ambulance; however it can often be out of service being repaired for 3 months at a time making transferring patients a real issue.

The unit’s staff have very recently been trained by the government’s cervical screening program. The stipulation is that girls aged 15years and above are to be screened and every 3 years thereafter. Ladies who are HIV positive are to be screened annually. It is common for girls become sexually active from age 12 years old and so, by the time they are 18 years old they may be mother to 3 children.

Challenges
Malnutrition is a problem at Nzama. Here we met a single mum from Mozambique who had walked all the way, some 50-60kms, with her sick daughter who had malaria and who was also suffering from malnutrition. The little girl who was 1 year old was ‘in recovery’ from the malaria but still displaying severe symptoms of floppiness and malnutrition some 10 days on from arrival at the health centre. The young mother was very frightened and isolated as she had travelled alone on foot to reach the unit, but at some point, the Mother would have to start the long walk back home to Mozambique. 

(Visit, October 2019)

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  • Tsangano Health Centre
  • Tsangano Health Centre
  • Tsangano Health Centre

Tsangano Health Centre

Our Journey

We travelled from Nzama HC south towards Mozambique for some 2 hours on very rough roads – This was not a journey for the faint hearted!  We were hoping to meet the new Sister in Charge but unfortunately she was not there on the day so Patrick the Medical Assistant was our main contact here. Patrick was just finishing the morning out-patients clinic, which was conducted in a very small building that lacked an examination room.

At first glance
The area is very rural with poor sanitation so there are many diarrheal problems along with skin infections such as Scabies.
When we visited, they had had rainfall a few weeks prior, so dysentery was a big concern because people were drinking dirty water. This is in a colder area of Malawi so chest infections such as pneumonia are more common however this also means that there is less malaria.  The catchment area extends for 15-20kms meaning a 3-hour walk is often necessary for patients. The staff spoke of issues regarding knife crime in the vicinity. E.g. there is a local bar where the men folk drink heavily at weekends and fights often occur between the locals and those that travel from nearby Mozambique! Only the day before our visit a male patient who had been involved in a fight had had to be transferred to Ntcheu Hospital in their very old ambulance – a 3-4hrs journey, and can be a 5hr drive in the rainy season if the roads are passable.

Simply visiting Blantyre to buy medicines involves a journey of at least 5hrs each way so the staff only make the trip every 3 months or so. As for maternity services, the impact of this being a very rural clinic means that, for complications the journey to a hospital is too long and sadly, some babies/mothers do not survive. We were told that they lose 50% of their referrals in transit – a shocking statistic!

In terms of infrastructure the unit is working towards expanding their spaces. A new maternity unit has been built yet it is awaiting completion. The aim is that ultimately this development will provide more ward and clinic spaces, e.g. providing new-borns with their own ward area.

Summary

12 staff in total

  • 8 nurses/midwives
  • 1 Medical Assistant
  • 1 Pharmacy Assistant
  • 2 Accounts/admin staff
  • Under 5s and maternal patients receive FOC medicines
  • Charge all other patients
  • However they make exemptions for some patients who cannot afford to pay – this is where donated medicines are used

Challenges

  • Sanitation and hygiene in local area is very poor
  • Trying to increase education in the villages
  • Issue with fighting in the local areas at the bars. Large reason for this is that catchment area is on border with Mozambique, and there is lots of fighting between people from Malawi and Mozambique. Often use knives, which results in deep cuts and men admitted to Health Centre
  • Only 1 Medical Assistant (no Doctors or Clinical Officers) – usually seeing over 50 patients a day
  • Ambulance to transfer patients to other hospitals is too old and needs to be replaced. The ambulance struggles with lots of non-tarmac roads in the area
  • Lots of cases of diarrhoea resulting from rainfall a couple of weeks ago and subsequently people drinking from wells
  • Not enough rooms and beds to treat all patients, resulting in overcrowding and patients in corridors
  • Children with diarrhoea are in same room as newborns and any other diseases children are being treated for
  • Not enough staff houses – 3 houses for 12 staff
  • No NRU for nutrition – Patients get transferred from here to Nzama who have nutrition unit
  • No generator currently, for when they lose electricity
  • Used to have lots of neo-natal deaths – they often need to transfer mothers to Ntcheu
  • Now 50:50 chance of survival
  • Patients are usually referred to Ntcheu which is 80km away and takes 3-4 hours by ambulance. In critical cases this has led to patient deaths or unnecessary added complications
  • Contributes to number of neo-natal deaths

Medicines most needed

  • Ferrous Sulphate – prescribed to pregnant women
  • Prednisolone
  • Amoxicillin
  • Cloxacillin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
  • Co-Trimoxazole
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Benzyl Benzoate – for treating scabies and skin conditions

Commonly treat for

  • Lots of skin conditions and eye conditions
  • Scabies due to lack of hygiene in local villages – lots of children in particular
  • Lots of patients treated for severe diarrhoea due to poor sanitation and hygiene in local villages – treated with ORS, Zinc and Loparamide
  • Lots of conjunctivitis, especially among young children
  • Not many cases of malaria here, as higher up and has cooler temperatures
  • Pneumonia and diarrhoea have highest number of patients treated for
  • Some dysentery and Gastro-enteritis also

Other observations

  • They buy medicines from Blantyre quarterly using old ambulance.
  • Patrick (Med Asst) has seen more than 50 patients by 11am today.
  • Catchment area is large about 15km (25,000 people). Patients often walk over 3 hours to get here
  • Children with diarrhoea are in same room as newborns and any other diseases children are being treated for

Female ward

  • Patients bring their own linen sometimes as the Health Centre does not have enough for all patients
  • Very cramped. Some patients are sharing beds
  • There are mothers with new babies, mixed with a range of other illnesses. For example there is currently a patient being treated for dysentery
  • We observed that although the Health Centre is undoubtedly cramped, it could be organised better. For example they have an entire room allocated for relatives next door, which we perceived would have been better used to expand space for female patients

Male ward

  • No patients in male ward currently
  • 7 beds
  • Larger ward than Female ward that only has 3 beds. Could they switch male and female wards to better utilise space
  • With the Health Centre being so understaffed, and the burden placed on existing staff these are considerations, which perhaps the staff do not have time to make.

(Visit, October 2019)

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  • Nsipe Health Centre

Nsipe Health Centre

Nspie is a small village located around 16km east of Ntcheu and about 140km north of Blantyre and 180km south of Lilongwe. The clinic serves 36 villages in the surrounding area, with an estimated population of 25,331. The clinic provides outreach services to the villages, reached by bicycle. The clinic also serves people from the wider area as the government facility in the neighbouring area has no maternity care.

The electricity supply and water supply are not perfect but are manageable. This unit also has a good working relationship with the government and a local hospital at Ntcheu and, works alongside 36 outreach clinics. The unit has access to shared vehicles/bikes, and also medicines if needed.

The main issue here is the infrastructure – the lack of buildings and beds! E.g. the labour ward has only 2 beds so, at busy times some babies are delivered in the corridor.

Mothers and babies usually only stay for 24hrs, not the usual 48hrs, due the lack of beds.

The electricity typically goes off for 3 hours at a time, once or twice a day. The water is served by an electric pump, so this also causes a problem. They do have a backup generator which they use when necessary. Communication here is challenging, they have to travel to Ntcheu to access the internet. Medicines are collected by ambulance from the post office in Ntcheu, and Ntcheu District Hospital is the closest hospital for referrals. The clinic uses a WhatsApp group where they can discuss cases with staff from the hospital to receive guidance before making a referral.

The clinic is run by the Sister in Charge, Sister Josephine, who is a trained nurse midwife. The clinic has an SLA with the government for maternity and care of children under 5. They also provide HIV, TB, malaria, nutrition and vaccinations. All of this is provided for free. If patients come for other conditions, they pay 500 Kwacha (50 pence) for a consultation and the same again if they need a bed for the night. Medicines are charged for on top unless they have donated medicines available. The clinic has not been paid by the government for over six months.

The clinic purchases most of its medicines 4 times a year from wholesalers in Blantyre who let them take items on credit.

Inter Care is the only source of donated medicines, which make up about 5-6% of their stock.

The pharmacy is managed by a nurse midwife, with support from the medical assistant. If they run out of a medicine, they try to trade with the government hospital. The pharmacy keeps purchased and donated medicines separate. There is no temperature management in the pharmacy, they are just kept in a dark room.

Each month, they see around 4,080 outpatients and 240 inpatients. There are 56 beds. On average they deliver around 70-80 babies a month, but last month it was 110 deliveries. There is no incubator so premature babies receive Kangaroo care.

Most common health issue seen include skin conditions, upper respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, gastrointestinal illnesses, diarrhoeal disease, sepsis, malnutrition, malaria, eye conditions, STIs including HIV, trauma or heart conditions. There is currently an outbreak of scabies in the community.

(Visit, October 2019)

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  • St Martin’s Health Centre
  • St Martin’s Health Centre
  • St Martin’s Health Centre

St Martin’s Health Centre

At first glance, we notice that the unit is very poor with little in the way of facilities. The outreach clinics are remote and difficult to get to with a very old ambulance which is not even a 4×4 wheel drive. Both electricity and water are major issues for the clinic and there is no money available for either. To make matters worse the water pump at the unit is currently broken.

Wellington the Medical Assistant is good however he has to see 80+ patients per day! -A huge workload. See his full story here

They have an under 5’s clinic most days however, it is held in a building resembling a cow shed which does not have seating for those waiting to be seen. Their laboratory is of an extremely poor standard, as is the pharmacy – which provides very little education for the staff.

See Zione and Mara’s story here

The unit is very reliant on the banana plants however, after devastating floods in 2015 a crop failure followed. The government has ordered the locals to uproot diseased plants but they are refusing and consequently are still having considerable crop issues. Bananas are a main staple food of the area i.e. we had bananas every day at least twice in all different forms hot and cold, so it was clear to us that a crop failure has a direct and huge impact for the local people.

Challenges

  • Only Ambulance keeps breaking down
  • Road has only been tarmacked in last 3-4 years. Up until this point they faced a lot of issues in terms of transport, access and remoteness.
  • They have a well and a pump. However they have had difficulties accessing, so sometimes have to bring water back from a bore hole some distance away.
  • They would like to introduce a solar pump
  • Sometimes go days without electricity and don’t have a backup generator.
  • Only 1 Medical Assistant (no Doctors or Clinical Officers)

Medicines most needed

  • Amoxicillin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Co-Trimoxazole
  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Also mentioned Salbutamol tabs are in low supply and would be most needed donated
  • Metformin (Glucophage) also needed for diabetic patients
  • They received a delivery from Inter Care 6 weeks ago
  • Ciprofloxacin and Amoxicillin tablets they received have been used already
  • No taxes on receiving stock from Inter Care

Commonly treat for

  • Malaria
  • Pneumonia
  • Skin Conditions
  • Epilepsy

Other observations

  • Nearest referral hospital is Malamulo Hospital 13km away.
  • If suspected Sepsis or Meningitis they refer to nearest district hospital
  • A lot of patients die in local villages and are brought to HC to confirm death
  • There are posters up with preparations for Ebola in HC and external programme across district.
  • Some people are affected by Cyclone Idai in lower parts of catchment area
  • Houses collapsed and some children died
  • Some families houses have been rebuilt and have moved back
  • Banana crop failure in area
  • They purchase medicines from Blantyre once a month
  • However have real difficulties with transport and fluctuation of prices
  • Purchase from Unichem, Worldwide and Pharmavisit (?)
  • Stock outs not always common, but they have a lot currently as coming up to busy period before rainy season
  • When Cipro runs out, they use alternative medicines, not always as effective

(Visit, October 2019)

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  • Namulenga Health Centre
  • Namulenga Health Centre
  • Namulenga Health Centre

Namulenga Health Centre

Namulenga is located about 45km away from Blantyre. It was built in 1968.

It is a small Health Centre with only a Medical Assistant prescribing medicines, along with 5 nurses/midwives, 1 lab attendant and 1 pharmacy assistant for a catchment population of  just over 11,000.

There is no Clinical Officer or doctor on site, they are only visited by a doctor from the regional hospital once every three months. These visits provide an opportunity to discuss complicated cases, and raise wider issues affecting the clinic.

  • The clinic contains a 10 bed maternity ward, and a 10 person general ward.
  • The health centre provides antenatal care and deliver 10-20 babies a month
  • The clinic provides maternity services, and services for patients with HIV and TB.

They had installed solar panels recently but only to power the refrigerator so even the pharmacy was very hot. On average the electricity is off for 8 hours a day. They have a water pipe from the mountain area but often it delivers a very low pressure so, they must use the borehole at the primary school.

They have a very old ambulance however, when we visited it was in for a service so, they had no means of transport other than bicycles.

The equipment on the wards and the labour unit was in a good condition but the laboratory was very poor!

They were in desperate need of some microscopy charts for the wall.

Staff accommodation was minimal with only 3 beds for the 5 staff meaning that 2 staff members are required to sleep outside every night!

SISTER MARTHA’S STORY (Medical Assistant)
 
“This morning I treated a boy of 12 years old. His mother was away, and he had tried cooking Nsima [cooked, ground white maize flour – a staple food] for himself, and was burned by the flame. I was able to give him painkillers and dressings, but we have run out of silver sulfadiazine cream, so I had to send him to the hospital. That is unfortunate because we would like to be able to treat that kind of simple condition here, without making him make a long and unnecessary journey to the hospital. “

“One of the items we recently received from IHP through Inter Care, were some children’s ear thermometers. They are brilliant! They are fast, they are accurate, and they are good for babies who wriggle!”

See Sr Martha’s full story – Download here

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  • Nixon Memorial Hospital

Nixon Memorial Hospital

The challenges

Nixon hospital was very badly damaged during it the war and efforts are still underway to rehabilitate it. Although it was at this hospital that Lassa fever was first discovered they now no longer have the facilities to treat it and have to pass cases on to the government hospital along with all of their HIV cases. The hospital has no running water and power every other day because of insufficient fuel to run the generator.

A typical day…

The hospital sees about 20 outpatients a day and admits around five a week, they have tried to run out reach clinics but often find there are insufficient patients to cover the cost of the diesel.

Patients are asked to pay for registration and for treatment, previously the hospital had a Samaritan fund for those who could not afford to pay but this has been exhausted. Absconding is a problem with In patients to avoid the bill.

The hospital is down to one functioning ambulance.

The hospital currently has two doctors although one is leaving on the 19th of March.

Conditions commonly treated…

Worms are a major problem with children in this area, and the hospital is able to conduct stool tests for them in their own laboratory. Other major problems include Anaemia resulting from malaria and lots of TB. Obstetric cases are often worsened by late presentation due to financial worries. This can then be further exacerbated by difficulty with transport and the unavailability of operating facilities at night.

The hospital conducts blood transfusions but does not have a blood bank as they have no refrigeration facilities and the donors are not available. Instead they try to obtain donations from family members.

The hospital suffers from a shortage of medicine compounded by the quality issues that are endemic in Sierra Leone. Pain medication is not easily available and the hospital could make use of codeine.

 

The Administrator, Mr Michael Tetty visited Inter Care after this visit and fully explained the extent of the need at Nixon, Filling in questionnaires etc.

(Visit, February 2010)

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  • The Shephard’s Hospice
  • The Shephard’s Hospice

The Shephard’s Hospice

Overview

Based in Allen Town, a suburb on the eastern side of Freetown, about 6 miles from the city centre, the Sheperd’s Hospice is unique in Sierra Leone as an organisation specialising in palliative care for the terminally ill. It is also the only place in Sierra Leone that is licensed to dispense oral morphine.


The hospice does not operate in the same way as a traditional hospice in the UK. It does not have any beds and does not admit patients. Instead it provides support to families who wish to take home terminally ill patients and helps them provide palliative care at home.


Who they support in the community…

As such they obviously focus on chronic diseases such as HIV/AID and cancer. They mainly treat symptomatically for pain but also treat opportunistic infections. Treatment is provided free although they do ask for a voluntary contribution from those that can afford to pay.

They employ 2 CHOs, (Community Health Officers) 3 nurses and a community health nurse who visit patients in their homes and monitor there care, as well as making sure they have the medicines etc that they require. If further referral is necessary they have an arrangement to refer with Dr James Russell at Connaught hospital, who also visits fortnightly.

In addition to its “core” hospice activities, the hospice provides primary care for the local community and is involved in out reach programs across the country. They run a national TB program that involves a network of training officer going out into the provinces on motorcycles. This involves providing training and medications as well as setting up sputum labs where none are currently available. This program is funded by the government.

The Hospice has access to three vehicles that are all in good condition, but are reserved for different purposes. They receive funding from Bread for the World (Germany), Global Fund For AIDS TB and Malaria, and the UK Friends of Shepherd’s hospice. Annual funding is usually in the region of £120, 000 but it can vary and fell to £97,000 in 2009, forcing a scaling back of activities.

(Visit February 2010)

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  • Holy Spirit Hospital, Makeni
  • Holy Spirit Hospital, Makeni

Holy Spirit Hospital, Makeni

At first glance…

Holy Spirit Hospital is located in Masuba 55km South of the city /town of Makeni – the largest city in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone, and the 5th largest by population.

Founded in 2002 this is a 75 bed facility with wards serving a varied range of needs i.e. medical, surgical, paediatrics, maternity and general.  Other key features include 3 operating theatres, a Nubuliser and an X ray machine.

The hospital is cared for by a total of 40 staff including; 3 resident doctors, 1 visiting part time, 1 clinical officer, a pharmacist and assistant, 16 nurses, 4 midwives and 3 laboratory technicians. In terms of amenities they have 3 ambulances and a van to help with transportation of their staff e.g. home visits.

They are very busy…

From a catchment population of 600,000 the dedicated staff team treat over 11,000 adult patients each year, of whom 2000 patients are in their teens and 4000 are children under 12 years old. Each month they treat approximately 9,500 Outpatients and look after 90 Inpatients. In the maternal wards, every month between 5-7 babies are born and take their first breathes at Holy Spirit Hospital.

The challenges…

They have difficulties with the availability of required medicines and also with counterfeit medicines entering their supply chain, so value the quality guaranteed medicines Inter Care provide.

Inter Care provide supplementary medical aid in the form of two consignments of medical products including basic medicines and dressings every six months.

(Visit, Feb 2010)


In July 2019, we sent our first container to Sierra Leone. It was a massive success and the start of a new journey for Inter Care’s way of work! – read more here


Recent feedback:

“Medicines received from Inter Care to Holy Spirit Hospital, always come in handy!

 Two of our recent patients (Sept 2018) diagnosed of Congestive Heart Failure and Hypertension respectively benefited from these donations made. Tablets of Digoxin and Lisinopril were in short supply so those donated by Inter Care were used to effectively manage these patients.  Specifically, a 67 year old lady diagnosed by congestive (chronic) heart failure has been treated and discharged and, a 50 year old lady suffering from Hypertension is improving gradually.

We want to say thank you to Inter Care for being party of these achievement”.

 

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  • Bai Bureh Memorial Hospital
  • Bai Bureh Memorial Hospital

Bai Bureh Memorial Hospital

Founded in 1971 as a private hospital Bai Bureh was originally intended to be a profit-making business however, following the passing of its founder the hospital became a self-governing organisation. Other than paying a lease fee to the founder’s widow the hospital now operates as a not-for-profit organisation.

Located in Lunghi, across the water from Freetown Bai Bureh is only accessible via very poor quality roads. The hospital suffered serious damage during the civil war (1991-2002) and it was at one time used as a base for AU troops. The repeated firing of heavy weapons from the roof created structural damage to the building and significant leaks became a problem.  Sadly, the x-ray equipment was rendered inoperable by water damage all too soon after it’s installation.

Today, the hospital provides healthcare cover for 14,500 people from a relatively large 800,000 catchment that includes the airport and its workers and some people who come from nearby Freetown. With a total 25 staff including 2 doctors, 1 pharmacist and 10 nurses, 2 midwives this 52 bed hospital treats around 400 Outpatients and 215 Inpatient admissions in one month alone.

Inter Care began supporting Bai Bureh Hospital following a visit in February 2010 as we discovered their needs are truly great. Typically the support they receive is bi-annual and includes basic medicines and dressings.

Medical Director, Dr. Hassan Sesay recently described two examples of how our medical aid makes a real difference:

“Last month (July 2018) we did a C/S due to APH in which the patient developed DIC. But, it was well managed with the tranexamic acid intra IV infusion from Inter Care and the patient was saved. This medication cannot be found locally in Sierra Leone but we got it from Inter Care and we saved both the mother and the baby – Many thanks to Inter Care.

The second case was only two days ago. We got a 70yrs old woman with a hypertensive crisis (bp=223/113mmhg) … Two puffs of nitrolingual spray under her tongue reversed her situation.  Now she is stable and will discharge tomorrow.  This medication is very expensive and not common in the local market – Thanks to Inter Care for all, God bless you all.”

Daniel Hassan Larkoh, Administrator explains the global value and quality of Inter Care supplied medicines:
“Our country Sierra Leone is experiencing a great drop in the quality of drugs because of the influx of a lot of substandard drugs from countries like China, India and other countries in Asia. This had led to a huge number of patients developing drug resistances in many drugs.

E.g. 700 mg of Ciprofloxacin can be administered to a typhoid patient for 12 hourly for about 10 days and the patient will not be healed. While as for Inter Care drugs despite of the body weight just 500 mg of Ciprofloxacin administered 12 hourly for just five days is enough to heal the patient.

In fact, that is the reason why we always use Inter Care drugs as our reserve drugs in the facility as they are the drugs we use to treat those patient who had been treated in other facilities in the country with no cure. Because when we treat them with Inter Care drugs they will surely be healed.”

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  • Kitope Dispensary
  • Kitope Dispensary

Kitope Dispensary

It was clear evidence of what a Dispensary of similar size and catchment population (around 11,000) without Inter Care support looked like, versus one that does have our support.

Their facilities were lacking and what little they did have was of a poor quality. The British National Formula (BNF) that was on the Clinical Officer’s desk (who is also the resident Father of the community) was dated 2007, some 10 years out of date.

The unit is a typical Dispensary that fits the Inter Care model where we are able to improve the lives of its patients by providing resources such as medicines, small equipment and health care goods. 

(Visit, September 2017)

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  • St Camillus Dispensary, Tomondo
  • St Camillus Dispensary, Tomondo

St Camillus Dispensary, Tomondo

This is situated on the Island of Zanzibar. There are 2 Catholic Dispensaries; one of which is supported by Inter Care. Unlike the health units in the Mara region close to the Kenyan border the issues here are different. The Diocese of Zanzibar is small and has little income to spend on medicines, yet we were pleasantly surprised, by the facilities at St Camillus Dispensary. This could have something to do with it being a building that they moved into as their previous Dispensary underwent an attack on the priests and the Dispensary and Church on Christmas Day in 2013 and was burnt to the ground.

It was clear though that the monies that they had saved on not needing to purchase medicines and health care goods that had been donated by Inter Care, meant they could invest in their facilities.

This is an excellent example of the way in which our aid is not merely alleviating acute need, but helping our partners to help themselves

(Visit, September 2017)

 

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  • Bukwali Dispensary
  • Bukwali Dispensary

Bukwali Dispensary

Run by William Kahwezi this is a very remote dispensary off the North West part of Lake Victoria and next to the Ugandan border (4kms).

Inter Care started supporting the dispensary after an earthquake hit the region 2016 and damaged a lot of the building and local infrastructure.

William the Clinical Officer In Charge, has been there for 46 years (specialises in Ophthalmology) and was the first medic to refer a patient to the Department of Health back in 1984 (who turned out to be the first patient diagnosed with HIV in Tanzania).

It is very much a family run, health centre as his home is across the road (where we spent the night). His wife used to deliver the babies (although there is now a trained midwife) and his two daughters also work there.

Case Study: Sanura, a 36 year old woman lived nearby with her children and during the middle of night their home set on fire. The children escaped but Sanura was very badly burnt.

William was able to treat her with the dressings and medication Inter Care supplied and he truly believes that they actually saved her life.

 

She is now living in a UN emergency shelter with her children but coping relatively well and the scarring is minimal. Also it was a miracle she didn’t suffer any secondary infections.

(Visit, September 2017)

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  • Makongoro Health Centre (AICT), Mwanza
  • Makongoro Health Centre (AICT), Mwanza
  • Makongoro Health Centre (AICT), Mwanza

Makongoro Health Centre (AICT), Mwanza

A very active Evangelical body of people known as AICT (African Inland Church of Tanzania) has established several medical units in Northern Tanzania. Inter Care has been sending supplies through to Makongoro Health Centre since 1992. They collect directly through Mwanza airport as they have a permit to clear customs and they distribute the consignment between the units as needs dictate but the majority goes to the health centre we visited in Mwanza.

They have a high standard of care and integrity which was clear to see with the personnel we met. They, like the majority of units visited are struggling with finances. They have built an operating theatre ready for abdominal surgical procedures, including deliveries and caesarean sections but have run out of money to equip and staff it.

The equipment they did have was in a poor state and in need of replacement. A Canadian nurse (from World Renew) has been working there for 6 years and clearly has a big impact within the health unit. There were not many medicines on the shelves and they have had problems with the quality of certain medicines therefore have a policy, for certain conditions such as diabetes, only to buy the medicines from Europe.

(Visit, September 2017)

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  • Sayusayu Dispensary
  • Sayusayu Dispensary
  • Sayusayu Dispensary

Sayusayu Dispensary

We travelled 120kms from the Main gate of the Serengeti to reach this Dispensary. It literally is miles from anywhere. The last 58km from Old Maswa is on a dirt track and the last 4kms from Maswa Town was on very rough road, which is clearly impassable in the rainy season.

50% of the local population are HIV positive and malaria is a big problem in this inland region. The local Parish Priest, Fr Albert Izengo with the help of 2 Clinical Officers, runs this 27-bedded unit. Sisters from Rwanda who have difficulties speaking Swahili and spoke no English support them.

Case Study: This was lucky for Bina who is 5 years old and her mother who live some 40kms away. Sadly, the upper part of Bina’s body was badly burnt after she fell playing near a fire and after some time being treated at a hospital she is now in the care of the Dispensary. Her family could no longer afford treatment at the hospital so went to Sayusayu for her recovery and physiotherapy. She has very little movement in either arm but they are currently working on trying to stretch her right arm using a simple cloth to tie her arm to stretch the skin. The left arm appeared to be much worse. Bina is having some pain relief when needed. Her recovery will take months and her parents are very poor.

She is receiving treatment with the help of Inter Care donating pain relief and dressings to treat the burns.

(Visit, September 2017)

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  • LUWI Rural Mission Hospital, Ntambu
  • LUWI Rural Mission Hospital, Ntambu
  • LUWI Rural Mission Hospital, Ntambu

LUWI Rural Mission Hospital, Ntambu

Our day at LUWI Hospital – June 2010

We left Mbehzi at around 9.00 am, accompanied by 2 visiting Sisters, Sister Francis, and Sister Vivienne, To say that these roads were not good was being kind, as we had 3 hours of rocking and bouncing in the back of the truck before reaching LUWI where we were met by Emmanuel Bwalya who is the administrator, accountant and general mechanic and also a trained driver of the motorbike ambulances (4) that they were given last year. They also have 2 ambulances. We also met with Simon Nkandu who is the pharmacist. Both of whom gave us a tour of the hospital and answered our questions.

The hospital has 90 beds covering medical and surgical cases and one operating theatre. They see around 75 out patients per day and have 12 deliveries per month. The main illness seen are as expected Malaria related and the incidence of HIV/AIDs is increasing, again this is thought to be a direct result of the influx of workers into the country due too the re-opening of the copper mines. They receive free ARVs from the government and from CHAZ (Christian Health Association Zambia) They also receive an amount of free medicines to treat opportunistic infections, however there is never enough.

They serve 4 outreach clinics the furthest of which is 42k away from the hospital, these have a population of around 2,000 and are visited each week for clinics for ANC, HIV/AIDs and PMCT. The hospital has 1 doctor, 1 Clinical officer, 8 Nurses including 2 midwives, 1 Lab technician, 1 Pharmacist and 1 Environmental technician. The nearest referral hospital is Mwinilunga which is 120K away.

Because of lack of funding they have had to withdraw their nutritional programme and only give supplements to the worst cases.

The hospital receives some medicines from the Sisters in Korea and Inter Care supports supplies around 30% of all medicines.

The hospital seemed to be exceptionally well run and was spotless.

We then returned to Mbehzi where we spent the night. We continued on our journey the next day taking with us the gifts of Maize Pineapples and a live chicken which we passed on to the sisters at the seminary. We then carried on to Livingston where we were to say goodbye to Sister Francis and to Lawrence as we left for Botswana.

(Visit, June 2010)

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  • St Augustine Seminary and Dispensary
  • St Augustine Seminary and Dispensary
  • St Augustine Seminary and Dispensary

St Augustine Seminary and Dispensary

The seminary is a small community about 1 hour from Kabwe which consists of 120 seminarians and 35 families.

Sister Francis is the only nurse and they do not have a visiting Doctor, any patients that she is unable to treat are referred to the hospital at Kabwe. They do not have any in-patients; all patients are treated in their own homes.

Sister Francis treats simple illnesses such as sports injuries, Malaria and its resultant effects, Stomach problems and infections. There are also many cases of chest infections and asthma and eye infections due to the dust in the dry season.

The dispensary receives no support from Government but does receive some small donations from Holland.

The medicines sent by Inter Care represent 80% of all their medicines.

(Visit, June 2010)

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  • St Mary’s School for the Blind
  • St Mary’s School for the Blind

St Mary’s School for the Blind

Saturday 18th June 2011 – Our day at St Mary’s School

On Arrival

Sr Agnes the head teacher greeted us at the convent and we set off in the morning to visit the school. We saw all of the buildings including the classrooms, Braille room etc. This school currently has 85 children however they have the capacity for 100 children with visual impairments. Four of the children come from the Congo whilst others have come from regions up to 200kms away.

At first glance

The school has a sick bay and this is where they dispense and store the medicines they receive from Inter Care.

We supply 100% of their medical requirements and if they had nothing, they would have to transport the sick child to the hospital at considerable cost and inconvenience to the school, even for mild conditions.

 

There are 3 beds in the sick bay and they have very basic requirements which include analgesics, antibiotics and dressings in the main.

We met the dispenser, Alice who cares for the sick children and had excellent record keeping.

At the school there is a nutritional programme for the younger children. This is a costly programme which is however a very necessary programme. The additional food given consists of high protein and porridge twice a week. Inter Care hand delivered £200 from the Ulverscroft Foundation directly to this programme which St Mary’s School was absolutely delighted with. The building structure is severely in need of repair due to cracked walls etc. There is a fundraising programme also underway by Sr Agnes – a very capable Sister.

The cooking facilities are poor and they use open fires and charcoal. There is no running water but there was a bore hole. Every Thursday between 6pm and 8pm the power is discontinued to be sold to another country.

After our tour

After our tour and lunch at the Convent, we went back to the school for a warm reception and welcome from the children. We were guests of honour at their closing ceremonies and we watched as the children, danced, drummed and sang. The pupils seem to have an innate sense of confidence as they go about their everyday duties. They carry out the cleaning and chores and whilst we were there we witnessed children sweeping classrooms and tidying dormitories. They would not have such confidence and independence in their own family environment. The term ended the day we were there and the following morning at 3am, a bus with 32 children were waiting for us to join them on their journey back to their homes. Each child was dropped at a prearranged meeting point by their families and the majority of them lived near the town of Mansa which is some 170kms away and it is also where we flew out of to return to Lusaka.

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  • Mulilansolo Rural Mission Hospital
  • Mulilansolo Rural Mission Hospital

Mulilansolo Rural Mission Hospital

This a well run but poor health centre with 60 beds. Their catchment area totals 23,000 however many come from outside this area because of the high levels of service.

They have 50-60 deliveries per month which is high considering they have only 3 members of staff and a lab technician none of which are midwives. Their workload is supplemented by local workers. The information that Inter Care holds on this health centre is up to date thanks to Sr Catherine’s efficiency.

They attract all types of cases apart from surgical. They refer surgical and cases beyond their competence to Chinsali Hospital 70 kms away. There is a vehicle crisis and they do not have a vehicle and rely on Chinsali Hospital to assist them. Whilst we were there, there were 2 maternity cases in need of urgent referral and they were hoping that the hospital would send an ambulance in time as they were both life threatening cases.

The wards cover general medical, male and female, then the children’s’ ward where we met 2 children with malaria who had travelled long distances to be treated. One child we met is called Mast aged 8 months who has suffered sores which have been neglected. They had travelled 36 kms to come to the health centre. The condition was made worse as the mother kept washing the sores keeping them from healing.

The pharmacy is well organised yet poorly stocked. Inter Care’s contribution represents 40% of their clinical needs. We find that the Government supplies a wide range of free medicines which has been in place for many years. As a result, they do not charge the patients any money for any medicines that they are given. However they still have to purchase certain medicines which are either not on the Government list or they do not have enough of, due to the attendance of patients from outside the catchment area.

They have a separate building for their HIV dispensing which is sometimes used when maternity is busy.

(Visit, June 2011)

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  • Kayambi Rural Mission Health Centre
  • Kayambi Rural Mission Health Centre

Kayambi Rural Mission Health Centre

At first glance

Kayambi Health Centre is situated in the north of Zambia in a very remote area with no electricity or water supply.  It has a population catchment of 15,300 however, patients also frequently visit from outside the area. The centre sees approximately 2,100 Outpatients and 365 Inpatients per month.

Some things have changed since we last visited

When Inter Care last visited the health centre was run by Sr Clementina, who was pro-actively engaging with local government on weak infrastructure issues such as improving roads and the lack of electricity in the area however, she has now retired.  Now run by Sr. Banda the health centre has a degree of self-sufficiency – benefiting from its own solar panels which supply only enough electricity for most of their daily needs but barring evening and during the night. Also on site is a small farm where they produce most of their own grain requirements.

The challenges

Inpatients are treated in 66 beds over 5 types of wards although frustratingly, they don’t use the twenty beds in the isolation ward as they cannot afford to run it.  The staff team is 3 clinical officers and 4 qualified nurses, two of whom are midwives who have to cope with the workload, which includes supporting 10 outreach clinics as far as 80km away.  The nearest referral hospital is in the city of Kasama – 150 km away on roads that are impassable in the rainy season.

Upon Inter Care’s last visit we witnessed just how remote and how needy the health centre actually is – the experience left a lasting impression in all our minds!  They told us how despite them being registered to receive medicines from the government, this supply is often withdrawn if somewhere else has a ‘greater’ need.  We saw how supplies from Inter Care are kept in a separate storeroom and were told they often need to use them as they are so desperately short of their own.

Kayambi bi-annually receives medical products including medicines and dressings from Inter Care Sr. Banda commented “We really appreciate the service you are rendering to these vulnerable people living in hard to reach areas”.

Inter Care are particularly grateful to Quorn Church for directly supporting this clinic.

(Visit, June 2011)

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