Our Partners in Africa

  • "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

Does your health unit need our support?

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  • St Edward’s Hospital, Dwinyama
  • St Edward’s Hospital, Dwinyama

St Edward’s Hospital, Dwinyama

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

Goaso Diocese

Twitter Page

(pictures sent via email in July 2019 showing the consignment we sent)
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  • St Anthony-Ann’s Hospital, Donyina
  • St Anthony-Ann’s Hospital, Donyina

St Anthony-Ann’s Hospital, Donyina

To find out more about our partners at this health unit please visit:

https://www.domsistersnigeria.org/apostolatedetail.php?tab=23

(Pictures sent to us via email with acknowledgment of Inter Care Medical Aid Donation, March 2020)

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  • St Andrew’s Catholic Clinic, Kordiabe
  • St Andrew’s Catholic Clinic, Kordiabe

St Andrew’s Catholic Clinic, Kordiabe

To find updates on our partner health unit please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/St-Andrew-Catholic-Hospital-Kordiabe-100771588081309

St. Andrew Clinic

(images taken on Inter Care’s visit in 2013)

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  • Afrikids Medical Centre, Bolgatanga
  • Afrikids Medical Centre, Bolgatanga

Afrikids Medical Centre, Bolgatanga

Images above: medicines donated by Inter Care and prescribed to patients at the health unit, 2020.

Visit www.afrikids.org  or  www.facebook.com/afrikids  to find out more.

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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 of these patients have severe mental problems and 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. They desperately need more drugs especially to treat epilepsy and related conditions.


All prescribing is done by a doctor. 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)

Home

 

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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.  There are 17 team members. These include 1 medical assistant, 1 pharmacy assistant, 14 qualified nurses and 3 competent midwives.

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. Furthermore, it 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 but 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.

https://www.facebook.com/ejisubesease

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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

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. These were the founders and original missionaries. The King’s Village is an impressive settlement of health, education and social care services. All available to many people internally and the many surrounding villages.

The original purpose of my visit was to conduct mini audits of our medicines and related sites. W wanted to see how IHP medicines were contributing to the healthcare in the King’s Village. Furthermore, we wanted to find out 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.  This enabled IHP and other partners like 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. Firstly, 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. Secondly, 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. Thirdly, 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 orthopedic surgery.


They made a passionate request for anesthetic 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 there. 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. Also 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. 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. These are classified as specialist medicines by the NHIS, leaving many low-income families to fund it themselves. Furthermore, they 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. This enables them to put critical resources toward the procurement of the expensive and highly inaccessible specialist medicines that the community needs.

The reimbursement process for medicines procured through the Ministry of Health in Ghana was massively protracted. This meant 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.

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 and public health initiatives. However, the challenge was that they did not have the human and financial resources to develop 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 then visited the relatively new psychiatric unit. 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 destigmatize mental health. They attempted this by encouraging people to attend their service for all medical treatments including mental health conditions.

I saw a patient called Mani…

A 45 year old man suffered from a seizure disorders caused by febrile fever and was taken to the health centre. This came from cerebral malaria sequelae and resulting in mental health problems. He had been an in and outpatient for many months. He 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.  The King’s Village ensures that they can provide a service to treat these cases. I then visited the nutritional centre and met mothers and their malnourished children. These children had to live in the centre for many months. They could only return home once they were healthy and fit. The nutritional centre was a very impressive but a simple set up. Here, they have an impressive but simple set up. They are able to teach mothers and their children how to reintroduce high nutritional but simple meals and diets to their families. This is to ensure their children receive the right nutritional meals to stay healthy. 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. This is one of the many communities they serve. This was a very small village with not more than 50 people. The people live 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. They wanted to summarise my visit and expressed their gratitude and to ask for feedback of my time with them.

Lastly, it gave me the opportunity to express my gratitude for accepting me there on behalf of IHP. I also wanted to acknowledge the extent of their work in Tamale. I promised to take their story and the on- going needs back to IHP.  We could then look into how we can better support them in the future. The meeting ended with a prayer.


Declarations:

The Chief of Kushiebo’s compound gave me 1 dozen guinea fowl eggs. This, I gratefully received. I gave the chief a small gift 50 cedis to thank him for his warmth and hospitality to me.  This is approximately £10. I also wanted to acknowledge the partnership he has with the King’s Village.

The management team of King’s Village gave me a beautiful Batakari dress. 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.

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

St Joseph’s Hospital, Jirapa

We visited St Joseph’s Hospital, Jirapa

(August 2014)

At first glance

Upon arrival, we noticed that this hospital is large and easy to find on the main street.

First, we visited Dr Richard Wodah, Medical Director. Dr Wodah told us about their cash-flow problems which were caused by the collapse of the Ghanaian National Insurance scheme. This mean that they have run out of funds.

Dr Wodah tells us more about the challenges

Dr Wodah had to be pro-active in seeking out and obtaining help from charities. These include Inter Care, Motec and Jacob’s Well who still support the health centre now. 

We learnt that (like many areas of Africa ) it is difficult to recruit doctors in North-Western Ghana. Were not entirely surprised to find that Dr Wodah is the only Doctor in this 193 bed hospital (!). However, he does have a large team. This included; 102 nurses, 3 Medical Assistants, a pharmacist, a pharmacy assistant, 4 technicians, 41 midwives and a visiting dentist and ophthalmologist.

Finally, we noted that 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 there is a lack of IT systems and equipment.

How Inter Care help…

Firstly, we saw a clear evidence of Inter Care drugs being used to treat patients free of charge.  We were please see our mission in action. 

Secondly, we learnt that the team at this hospital are appreciative of the aid that Inter Care provides.

In summary, we would like to increase our supplies to them where possible. This is because this hospital serves a large area of 101,000 plus population

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


Visit this health unit’s official site at:

www.facebook.com/pages/category/Health-Beauty/St-Josephs-Catholic-Hospital-Jirapa-531541077205687/

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  • Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) Orphanage, Mulanje
  • Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) Orphanage, Mulanje
  • Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) Orphanage, Mulanje

Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) Orphanage, Mulanje

FOMO run 13 Day Centres for orphans which include a nursery and primary school providing two meals per day for the younger children, one for the older.

They have one Secondary School which is private and which has 60 students. The school was modern and in very good condition.

The Centres are located in different villages up to 15Km away. If they cannot treat children themselves, they take them to the local hospital. The clinic currently serves orphans, staff, some guardians and some locals. Inter Care supplies most of their medicines, (50-70%). They have a lab.

There is only 1 clinical officer, 1 lab assistant, 1 nurse which is a challenge for the centre. Furthermore, the government give some support but the rest of their medicines are purchased from private pharmacies or come from Inter Care.

There are many cases of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea. Also, HIV prevalence is in line with the national prevalence at around 10%.

Overview

The total number of children they supported was given as 5,340, aged infants to 18-20 years. The nursery had 51 children and 2 carers. We also noticed an absence of toys.

FOMO also runs various skills trainings for the older children including driving, computer and tailoring programmes.

In addition to this, they reported 35-70 outpatients daily and there is a laboratory, which was over-equipped with 4 microscopes to do simple tests of urine, stool and for malaria. There is a room for voluntary counselling and testing. The Centre is able to do minor procedures, like suturing, and IV fluids. There was a huge tray of IV cannulas, enough to keep them going for a very long time! The medicine cupboard we were shown was full of IC medicines, a number of which were totally unsuitable, e.g. warfarin, azathioprine and allopurinol.

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

FOMO Official Site

Facebook Page

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  • Ndi Moyo Palliative Care Centre

Ndi Moyo Palliative Care Centre

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

Ndi Moyo Facebook Page

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  • Madisi Mission Hospital
  • Madisi Mission Hospital
  • Madisi Mission Hospital

Madisi Mission Hospital

Visit 2015

 

  • Location: 80m KM north of Lilongwe. Dowa District. Lilongwe Archdiocese.
  • Catchment population: 43,000
  • Key staff met: Robert Jones and Oswald Yona Lungu (Administrator)
  • Nearest referral unit: 80Km – Central Hospital Lilongwe
  • Facilities: 123 beds in Maternity, Paediatric, male and female wards. Ambulance recently in an accident. 2 old vehicles and a motorbike. Lab, X-ray, Nutrition unit, HIV and TB programmes
  • Staff: 6 clinical officers, 1 medical assistant, 25 nurses. Doctor visits regularly.
  • Workload: 70 deliveries/month+ general outpatient and inpatient care
  • Disease pattern: Standard for this area: Malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, sepsis, opportunistic infections associated with HIV, asthma, sexually transmitted infections +RTAs
  • Estimated % of meds from IC: 5%
  • Support from government and other sources: Vaccines, ARVs, TB drugs, Malaria tests and treatment from Central Government Stores. Staff salaries paid by CHAM
  • Overview: Require another nebulizer. They would prefer to continue receiving 2 consignments from Inter Care per year but could collect parcels from the airport if necessary.

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

Facebook Page

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  • St John of God Hospital, Mzuzu
  • St John of God Hospital, Mzuzu

St John of God Hospital, Mzuzu

This hospital undertakes pioneering and extraordinary work in a country where there is hardly any provision for treating mental illness. The hospital is one of only three psychiatric units in Malawi which provide 39 inpatient beds and extensive specialist outpatient care. Furthermore, they deal with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, drug-induced psychosis, epilepsy and clinics for the elderly. Although the environment is pleasant and rehabilitation programmes extensive, there are still significant problems with shortage of funds. it is difficult to get government funding for medicine and mental health care is expensive.

Moreover, there is a real difficulty sourcing psychiatric drugs. This is because their specialist nature means that they are not stocked by private pharmacies. More general medicines are used in the elderly clinics and for incidental infections and malaria in psychiatric patients.

Training in mental health is now a priority at St John of God, with over 150 nurses and 100 clinical officers now trained and degree courses available.

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

Official Site

Facebook Page

(pictures taken at visit in October 2012 and 2017)
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  • St Anne’s Hospital, Chilumba
  • St Anne’s Hospital, Chilumba

St Anne’s Hospital, Chilumba

This small hospital with 54 beds is run by a clinical officer with surgical and obstetric emergencies referred to Karonga, an hour away along the main lakeshore road. Inter Care had direct experience of this when somehow we squashed into the ambulance with us a lady in obstructed labour, a guardian and a heap of luggage. (The outcome was good: amazing what a bumpy road can achieve it terms of progression in labour!)

When Sister Clementina arrived at Chilumba ten months ago she inherited a 10 million Kwacha (£10,000) deficit owed to drug companies. This is a common situation and means that hospitals buy from multiple pharmacies where they can extend their credit. The state of repair of buildings and level of equipment is poor, but this is hardly surprising. In particular, they asked if we could source a Doppler machine to assess better the need for maternity referral. The sisters’ accommodation is simple and power was a problem, but their welcome warm as ever.

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

St Anne’s Website

(pictures sent via email in July 2019 showing the consignment we sent)
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  • Nkhamenya Mission Hospital
  • Nkhamenya Mission Hospital
  • Nkhamenya Mission Hospital

Nkhamenya Mission Hospital

Visit Report (October 2017)

This is 100 bed hospital with just ONE doctor. It is 60 Km on a good road from its referral hospital in Kasungu with a workload higher than expected from its catchment. This is because of patients crossing the Zambian border. There are approximately 77 deliveries per month and 65 outpatients per day. The hospital is situated on an entire mission complex which is beautifully kept and managed.

Requests were for surgical instruments which we could satisfy. They also requested for a biochemistry machine and cryotherapy unit. These items might, on occasion, be offered to Inter Care. It would also be a good candidate for an Aerogen Pro nebuliser.

Pictures taken in 2017 (Inter Care visit Nkhamenya and Ketete)

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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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  • St Joseph’s Hospital, Limbe
  • St Joseph’s Hospital, Limbe
  • St Joseph’s Hospital, Limbe

St Joseph’s Hospital, Limbe

We spent the day at the hospital which is situated a 45-minute drive from Lunzu where we were staying. The Director Sister Mercy is a busy lady, and we spoke at length to Michael, Head of the Medical Team. The hospital has a very busy OPD (outpatient department) seeing on average 80-100 patients per day. The hospital has 198 beds – on average 50-60 are occupied overnight.

We visited the laboratory which is small by our standards. They have a small chemical analyzer (see image) which had been funded by an external company, however the funding had stopped so the machine was no longer in use.  Furthermore, they were lacking an incubator so were unable to process any cultures – this was a big challenge for them. They were however using the Gene Xpert program to support TB screening and, a new development is that they are now starting cervical screening programs.

The pharmacy department recently moved into a new building and was well organized however, sourcing products remains an issue due to ‘out of stocks’ and having to buy from private pharmacies. One of the major challenges faced by the hospital was security and loaning equipment to patients, e.g. crutches which were subsequently not returned. 

In the afternoon, we visited the Training College, which has always offered Nursing and Midwifery training. However, in 2017 they started offering Pharmacy Assistant training as well. The capacity of the college is 480 students, there are 84 employees of whom 28 are academic staff. Nursing Midwifery Diploma is a 3-year course and the Pharmacy Assistant Certificate 2 years. They had recently purchased 70 BNFs at a cost of £350.

We suggest this would be a good place to provide teaching aids/appropriate books to in the future. 

Sister Mercy has excellent contacts with all the health units in the area and would be willing to work with Inter Care to facilitate distribution of goods across the area when we can send a container.

(Visit, October 2019)

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  • Pirimiti Community Hospital
  • Pirimiti Community Hospital

Pirimiti Community Hospital

When Inter Care had visited previously in 2009 there had been a lot of building works in progress so now complete, we were keen to have a look at the new facilities.

Sr. Mary Njuguna (from Kenya) is the Hospital Director. She speaks excellent English and was extremely welcoming. She told us they have 350 deliveries per month of which approximately 65 are C-sections as complicated cases are referred to them from 5 surrounding health centres – 2 are NGO’s (including Matiya HC), 3 are government units.

The new building was exceptionally clean, well organised and very unrecognizable from before. The patients that attend the hospital are in the main maternity wing along with the surgical cases – They have no anaesthetic machine and use spinal anaesthesia for C-sections.

The other wards are male, female and paediatric – seeing many cases of malaria and pneumonia. Road traffic accidents tend to be referred to Zomba General Hospital.

(Visit, October 2019)

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  • Matiya Health Centre
  • Matiya Health Centre
  • Matiya Health Centre

Matiya Health Centre

Matiya health centre (HC) is on the main road to Zomba which is tarmacked until the last 7km where the surface changes to marram roads. This is a health centre with 28 beds and a high volume of patients. It has poor infrastructure too.

The HC is extremely busy serving a large catchment population of 48,278.  The unit supports a mammoth 96 villages per month with outreach services. The average number of deliveries each month is 126 babies.

We saw that the buildings had been damaged by Cyclone Idai which had hit the country six months previous i.e. in March 2019 – Sadly many of the population lost their lives during the cyclone and many have been left homeless by the destruction it left behind.

We witnessed the staff working tirelessly in a chaotic and disorderly set up.

Only 4 of the 11 staff can be housed and the rest sleep outside in tents yet, they do amazing work and were extremely welcoming to us.

We met baby Innocent who was born 9 hours previously and she was fine except for an extra digit on both hands. They will not carry out any surgery, they will simply tie the fingers to cut off the circulation, so the 6th digit eventually falls off. We gave Sr. Stivelio who was the very busy Sister in Charge a crocheted blanket for baby Innocent. It had been knitted by a local Inter Care supporter group based in East Goscote, Leicestershire.

Sr. Stivelio Macloud – Sr. in Charge (pictured above) “The supplies we receive now are 100% suitable for our needs”.

Case Study

Kenneth Golosi, Matiya’s Clinical Officer (pictured above) recounted details of a patient he had seen that morning – a 2 year old child who was HIV positive. His mother had carried him on foot 8kms wearing no shoes after the boy had for 3 days suffered a fever and a cough. On examination his temperature was 38 degrees (Centigrade) and the child was irate and pink / febrile. He was clearly distressed. Kenneth carried out a physical examination which showed mild cramps, however the abdomen was clear. The treatment plan was to test for malaria first which proved positive. He also suspected an acute respiratory infection. The initial treatment given was antibiotics (amoxicillin) for 7 days coupled with paracetamol for 3 days for analgesic.

All the treatments given were donated by Inter Care and International Health Partners

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  • Chiringa Health Centre
  • Chiringa Health Centre

Chiringa Health Centre

This slightly smaller health centre has 25 beds and no doctor but does have a clinical officer and a medical assistant.

We met with Sr. Rhoda Bendala who showed us around a very clean and organised facility. The stark difference here was that there were no patients and lots of nurses and midwives sitting around. Sr. Bendala explained that a government facility had opened down the road and so, if the new facility had medicines on their shelves then Chiringa would be quiet. They do get many patients cross the border from Mozambique though and they average 30 deliveries a month.  We also noted the malaria register which had 50% positive results on that day. They told us that recently their water pump was stolen so they were having to use the bore hole. Equipment items they requested were an Otoscope and a lamp for cervical screening – a new government initiative.  Recommendations for future support would be to reduce the amount of medical aid sent from Inter Care and to simplify the types and amounts of healthcare goods sent.

(Visit, October 2019)

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  • Sukasanje Health Centre
  • Sukasanje Health Centre

Sukasanje Health Centre

This health centre with 45 beds, is a 70-minute drive from Blantyre on a good road to the Mozambique border, then 70 minutes on a marram road which requires a 4×4 vehicle and is impassable in the rainy season. Due to its remoteness staff turnover is high and they struggle to recruit and retain medical staff. At the time of the visit, there was one very young medical assistant and 9 nurse / midwives, and they were in the process of recruiting a pharmacist.

The local population of 25,000 are mainly unemployed and many patients come across the border from Mozambique (it is literally on the border) to receive medical treatment. There are approximately 80 deliveries per month – 2 of which had been born on the day of our visit.

On the day we visited they had carried out 18 malaria tests. All those tested were under 5 years old and 7 were from Mozambique. 40% of the test results were positive. They keep very few patients in overnight but when they do, they charge 50p per night.

Staff made requests to Inter Care for mattresses as those that they have are in a terrible condition with the foam being visible.

Also, all bedsheets were missing – consequently patients had to use their own chitenje’s (large pieces of coloured fabric) as the health unit could not provide any linen.

They would also benefit from health care goods such as bandages etc.

(Visit, October 2019)

Sukasanje Facebook Page

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  • Fistula Care Centre
  • Fistula Care Centre

Fistula Care Centre

Visit report

The Centre runs a training programme for surgeons, nurses, medical and clinical officers. These are all trained by a Malawian fistula surgeon.

This centre is located in the grounds of Bwaila Hospital, Lilongwe and has 35 beds and an operating theatre.

The unit in Lilongwe sees and treats up to 300 women per year with vesico-vaginal fistula, (VVF), partly as ongoing work and partly at twice yearly ‘camps’. These run for an intensive 10-day period, during which 90 women are treated. These camps also take place in other Fistula Centres in Zomba and Blantyre. The overall success of surgery is 91%.

Overview/Case Study

 

Obstetric fistula is a devastating childbirth injury caused by prolonged obstructed labour. To elaborate, it causes incontinence and infection and social stigmatisation. Between 50,000 and 100,000 women each year are affected each year globally. The Fistula Care Centre is a national specialist organisation treating women with VVF, usually caused by the ‘3 delays’ in maternity management.

The Centre takes a holistic approach to the care and rehabilitation of patients. They draw on rehabilitation, education and an empowerment programme. This includes access to micro-finance, a solar project where the women are given and taught to use a portable solar panel unit and literacy and numeracy classes, as well as lessons in arts and crafts.

The Centre has also established an Ambassador Programme where patients return to their communities and talk about the condition and its effect on women as well as supporting other women with VVF to seek support at the Centre. Despite being relatively well funded, the Centre still cannot access all the medicines and medical supplies it needs as there is a shortage of availability from the government.

They are therefore continually in need of antibiotics, painkillers, plasters and catheters. They were also very keen to receive Afripads (reusable sanitary pads) to add to the “welcome box” the women receive on arrival at the Centre. The approach taken to supporting the women was very impressive. .

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

St John of God Hospital’s Official Site

(pictures taken at visit in 2015)
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  • St Peter’s Hospital, Likoma Island
  • St Peter’s Hospital, Likoma Island

St Peter’s Hospital, Likoma Island

St Peter’s is a 52-bed Anglican hospital. It is beautifully situated next to the historic cathedral on Likoma Island in the centre of Lake Malawi. It is a busy place run by 2 clinical officers, 1 medical assistant, 12 qualified nurses and 1 laboratory technician caring for 4,450 Outpatients and 120 Inpatients per month.

Upon our visit in October 2017 we found it to be rather isolated i.e. the nearest referral centre 70km away by an infrequent and somewhat unreliable boat service. To exacerbate things the hospital boat was broken so emergency referral and the transportation of medicines is particularly problematic. We also noted a significant influx of patients travelling to St Peter’s from the nearby Mozambique coast which, effectively doubled the expected number of patients. Staff told us that the isolation issue also means that it is very challenging for them to recruit and retain staff.

Despite the absence of a qualified doctor the hospital needs to be able to cope with most eventualities including surgery and encouragingly, we learned that one of the clinical officers is currently studying for a degree in mental health. Their stocks of medication are supposedly supplied by the government through central medical stores but we are told that time after time this proves unreliable. Furthermore, it does not begin to keep pace with an extra influx of patients, leading inevitably to frequent shortages.

From our tour, we found Hospital Administrator Francis Vuma to be outstanding in his service to the hospital and, going forward we anticipate his advising Inter Care with local knowledge to improve the bespoke medical aid we can provide to Malawi in general. For St Peter’s Hospital Mr Vuma said “Funding for medicines and medical supplies, equipment are a challenge” Inter Care currently send consignments bi-annually which include medicines and medical supplies.

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  • Mendewa Hospital, Bo
  • Mendewa Hospital, Bo
  • Mendewa Hospital, Bo

Mendewa Hospital, Bo

Email from Imelda Forde (Part of Prince Forde Foundation) – January 2021

Hello to all the staff at Inter Care ,

Since we last spoke I have had a pretty full agenda. 

Last week i popped into the ‘Bo Children’s Hospital ‘ I met with Mr Albert Sesay, (The temporary replacement for the late Dr. Sombie). I was given a warm welcome and shown around the facility which had gone under a revamp following its use as a Covid isolation Center . Mr Sesay has confirmed that the facility will soon open back as the Children’s Hospital shortly. Mr Sesay was als kind enough to visit us at Mendewa Clinic and Community Hospital, on leaving i gave him a small parcel of children’s clothes and some BNF books for Children in anticipation of his Centre re-opening,

As  mentioned previously I have started my Outreach work to the surrounding villages in our catchment area and the items that were donated have been distributed to the community an exercise that has been met with a good turnout and much appreciation for the items and the Health information  given out, we continue in our efforts now after the Holiday season is over. 

The Medical books have proved a big hit, with our qualified staff and  our student nurses, we are now hoping to gather enough to start a small library in the future, as books of this nature are rare and expensive in Sierra Leone. The Nurses have asked me to give you all a big Thankyou Thumbs up!

please see attached some pictures of 

  1. my visit to Bo Chidren’s Hospital
  2. Mr Sesay visit to Mendewa
  3. Student Nurses using the Books donated
  4. Our outreach to Joe Town and Mosakpa Village
  5. Toys and blankets being given out in the Clinic 
  6. Confirmation of receipt of goods

Many thanks and Merry Christmas 

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

Official Site

(pictures sent via email to Inter Care in January 2021 showing the consignment we sent)
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  • Bo Children’s Hospital
  • Bo Children’s Hospital
  • Bo Children’s Hospital

Bo Children’s Hospital

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

Official Site

Facebook Page

(pictures sent via email to Inter Care in 2015 showing the consignments we sent)
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  • Adventist Hospital, Waterloo
  • Adventist Hospital, Waterloo
  • Adventist Hospital, Waterloo

Adventist Hospital, Waterloo

To learn more about our partners at this health centre please visit:

Facebook Page

(pictures sent via email to IC in July 2018)

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  • The Shepherd’s Hospice
  • The Shepherd’s Hospice

The Shepherd’s Hospice

Overview

This health centre is based in Allen Town, a suburb on the eastern side of Freetown. It is about 6 miles from the city centre. The Shepherd’s Hospice is unique in Sierra Leone as it is an organisation specialising in palliative care for the terminally ill. It is 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 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 free although they do ask for a voluntary contribution from those who can afford to pay.

They employ 2 CHOs, (Community Health Officers) 3 nurses and a community health nurse. They 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. The government funds the programme.

The Hospice has access to three vehicles which are in good condition, however, they reserve them for different purposes. They receive funding from Bread for the World (Germany), Global Fund For AIDS TB and Malaria and and the UK Friends of Shepherd’s hospice.

(Visit February 2010)

 

Official site

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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 looked after by a total of 40 staff. These include; 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…

The dedicated staff serve a catchment population of 600,000. More importantly, they treat over 11,000 adult patients each year. 2000 of these 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. Furthermore there are challenges with counterfeit medicines entering their supply chain.

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

(Visit, Feb 2010)


NEWSFLASH! 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. Also, 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”.

Official Site

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  • Bai Bureh Memorial Hospital
  • Bai Bureh Memorial Hospital

Bai Bureh Memorial Hospital

Founded in 1971 is a private hospital Bai Bureh and is located in Lunghi, across the water from Freetown Bai Bureh is only accessible via very poor quality roads.

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 started supporting Bai Bureh Hospital after visiting in February 2010. We knew we could provide 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. 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 is administered to a typhoid patient for 12 hourly for about 10 days. And we would find that 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. These are the drugs we use to treat patients who are 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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  • St Francis of Assisi Orphanage
  • St Francis of Assisi Orphanage
  • St Francis of Assisi Orphanage

St Francis of Assisi Orphanage

Visit Report 2014

Overview

St Francis Orphanage is situated just outside Moshi in the Catholic Diocese of Moshi. It is run by the Sisters of our Lady of Kilimanjaro and provides care and education for 255 children aged from 18 months to 12 years. 200 children live in and the remainder, who have one parent, live at home.

Facts

The orphanage caters for children with and without disability. Special provision is offered for the deaf and blind. Some of the lay teachers are also blind or deaf. Some children have other physical disabilities. 17 children (6.7%) had albinism. Tanzania has a particularly high level of albinism (1 in 1429 or 0.07% of the population) with 35000 individuals affected nationally. The large numbers at the orphanage are due to cultural beliefs and government policy. Within society albinism is treated with fear and suspicion.

It is believed that those affected are ghosts, cursed and intellectually impaired. Those with albinism are subjected to physical attack and body parts are used in witchcraft. The government has encouraged housing those with albinism in orphanages to protect them from physical harm. This policy has been highly criticised for its consequent social isolation of those affected and the lack of education of the wider population. Those with albinism usually have normal intellect, but are subject to eye impairment and skin cancers. We noted that all these children were provided with sun hats.

When we arrive

As visitors we were given an extremely warm welcome. The children sang for us and were keen to know us individually by name. Their attention and delight was almost embarrassing. The Sister in charge explained the children are delighted to see anyone who seems to care. They had no family to visit.

We toured the compound, but were not shown inside the classrooms or sleeping quarters. We visited the dispensary for which Intercede provides some drugs. The dispensary is staffed by a Nurse/Midwife and a Medical Officer visits once or twice per week. Also, it has rooms for sick children and a delivery room. It was explained that passing pregnant women, usually Masai, seek to deliver there. Any medical complications are passed on to the hospital in Moshi.

The challenge and needs

Firstly, we noticed that the drug stock consisted of high strength sun cream for those with albinism, simple analgesia, a range of antibiotics, treatments for malaria and simple dressings. There was a request for more drugs.
Also, there is a new complex for teenagers to learn technical skills. This included carpentry and joinery, metal work, garment making, cookery and horticulture. The catering department was not finished. The students for the training college mainly come from the surrounding area. Some have been at the orphanage as children.

The orphanage grows its own fruit and vegetables and kept cows, pigs and chickens for milk, eggs and meat. The children helped with these tasks.
It was unclear, due to communication difficulties, exactly where the children go at 12 years. Some go to to do further education at the local High School.

Finally, the nuns had their own house on site and we received the usual warm Tanzanian hospitality. They seemed pleased with our gifts of toys and clothes, but it is clear that there is great need for further and regular supplies.

Official Site

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  • Kilema Hospital
  • Kilema Hospital
  • Kilema Hospital

Kilema Hospital

Report – Visit in 2011 (volunteer trip)

Nearly the whole party visited Kilema with a view to walking in the hills after the visit. Those of us who had visited Kibosho were impressed by the condition of the road for the first few km after leaving the tarmac of the Arusha Road, this however soon changed as the condition became increasingly rough. It is a journey worth making even if not to visit the hospital as the views from there are magnificent.

What we did first

We were greeted by Sister Clarissa, who was, unfortunately, unaware of our visit. She handed us over to another sister who took us on a tour of the hospital. It became increasingly apparent that a group of 16 is far too many to take round a hospital and most of the volunteers who were not immediately involved enjoyed the sun in the hospital garden for some of the visit.

At first glance

The hospital is well laid out and appears to be well run. They have male, female, obstetric and gaenological wards in addition to maternity and children’s wards and an out patient department. They see around 70 patients per day. There is also perform major surgery and have visits from an eye surgeon. The theatre is well laid out and reasonably well equipped; they do however need more sterile gloves and suture materials. On our trip round the hospital we were shocked to see that although we send up to date MIMS and BNF they were still using copies from 2003.

There also a lot of cases of intestinal worms and they asked us to send out albendazole. Inter Care does not routinely receive this and we would have to buy it.

The government supplies them with ARVs yet they do receive enough for their patients. At the moment they have 1,800 HIV positive patients and whilst the number is increasing it is now slowing down mainly due to extensive educational programmes. The government does not supply drugs for opportunistic infections and if able, patients pay for these.

They have an orphan support scheme which gives 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.

Final comments

We were then taken to the canteen and provided with lunch.

On saying goodbye to the hospital staff we were then taken to Marengu Falls which is a tourist attraction of the area.

Official site

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  • Kibosho Hospital
  • Kibosho Hospital
  • Kibosho Hospital

Kibosho Hospital

At first glance

Our first serious rural challenge by bus. Kibosho Hospital was quite some way, about 5-6kms off the main road. Up a long seemingly steep slippery muddy track to the Hospital, which when we reached it was clean and in good order. Despitehavig sent emails and a mobile phone message to say we were coming, no-one was apparently expecting us. This proved to be a common experience, as staff and mobile phone numbers change frequently. Although it was hoped Inter Care could meet up with the chief Pharmacist, he was not available. However, other senior clinical staff were located and they came to meet us pretty quickly once the administration staff realised who we were.

It was reassuring that these staff were very efficient and able to give us a realistic picture of how their hospital was run and the challenges it faces on a daily basis. We were given a thorough tour round the entire site and we felt able to ask questions throughout which certainly helped build up a picture of everyday activities which the hospital endeavours to provide.

What I witnessed

I was impressed that Kibosho had both eye and dental departments, with staff and equipment able to provide a level of service, albeit basic it helps to know which units could utilise pieces which are donated to Inter Care. Patients come from great distances, some even walking 20kms to get there, no public transport serves the Hospital.

Interestingly Dr. N Chombe, the Senior Doctor we spoke with, said that cardiovascular disease is now becoming an increasing problem. Malaria didn’t used to be a problem due to the height of the land around Kibosho, but as the mosquitos were breeding in the bushes in the area, it is now a problem. Sadly we learnt the biggest reason for admission and cause of death for the under 5’s was Pneumonia and protein malnutrition. For those over 5yrs old, the greatest reason for admission was for AIDS/HIV, hypertension, Pneumonia, and malaria. To know that a main cause of admission and death is due to pneumonia causes me to question why no vaccination is offered or available. Maybe it is and it is once again an issue of cost. I just don’t know.

The challenges

Kibosho like other buildings in the area, has to do without electricity for 2 whole days a week. This almost seems unbelievable to us, for whom power is just a given. This therefore makes trying to treat patients very difficult, and I think hold fears for any emergency surgery needed. I was fascinated to know that many operations are actually Caeseration sections, done for a variety of reasons, bur especially if the baby is expected to be bigger than 4kgs. Thus the usage of suturing material is high and frequently unavailable through usual channels. Gloves, gauze, IV giving sets and cotton wool, also in short supply. The hospital frequently have to buy these goods locally, indeed we were shown the purchase book for these items. I think we were all shocked to see how much is spent on these  basic items because they are unobtainable through other means.

In summary

I think our visit to Kibosho was somewhat of an awakening. It made us realise how few resources are available to such health care units. Also about how far they will go to make them stretch. The hospital itself was clean, and welcoming, those attending were  quietly and patiently waiting to be seen and treated. We were able to start some of our questioning about the problems which HIV/AIDS. It is reassuring to know that AIDS/HIV pts, Maternity care and the care of the under 5’s is free. Furthermore, it is provided by the Govt. I was happy to be shown round the whole unit. I was pleased to talk with Dr NChombe who was taught by a close Doctor friend of mine in Tanzania.

Account by a volunteer of Inter Care

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  • St Camilius Health Centre, Mvimwa
  • St Camilius Health Centre, Mvimwa
  • St Camilius Health Centre, Mvimwa

St Camilius Health Centre, Mvimwa

This health centre is situated in Zanzibar. The main religion on the Island of Zanzibar is different from mainland Tanzania in that the population is 99% Muslim. There are 2 Catholic Dispensaries; one of which is supported by Inter Care, the other we were going to visit with a view to start supporting the unit.

Unlike the health units in the Mara region close to the Kenyan border the issues here are different. The Diocese of Zanzibar is small. It had little income for medicines.

In summary, our support ensures that they are able to 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 2017)

 

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  • Kwediboma Health Centre
  • Kwediboma Health Centre
  • Kwediboma Health Centre

Kwediboma Health Centre

Location: 120km East from Korogwe

Catchment population: 9-10,000

Key staff met: Sr Matilda

Nearest referral unit: 60km at Handeni

Facilities: 26 Beds, 5 wards (1 Masai if needed). No Transport. Have Lab, maternal/child health clinic, Mobile outreach clinic (once per week to administer vaccines and antenatal) and TB and HIV/AIDs program.

Staff: 3 Clinical Officers, 1 Pharmacy Assistant, 2 Nurses which are also Midwives, 18 Nursing Assistants.

Workload: 70-80 deliveries/ month + 70+ outpatient/day and 200+ inpatients per month.

Disease pattern: Malaria, URTI, Typhoid, Pneumonia, UTI, Anemia, Hypertension, Diabetes.

Support from government and other sources: Government supply Vaccines, HIV & TB medication, they also provide wages. Receive some UK Church based financial support.

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  • Baraki Health Centre
  • Baraki Health Centre
  • Baraki Health Centre

Baraki Health Centre

Overview

Based on a complex including a big working farm and a school; 60 kms from Musoma and supports a population of 29,860. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The countryside surrounding the health centre was extremely barren and there had been drought here for 2.5 years. Like the other units in this area, tribal customs and culture are a huge issue for them as patients often arrive too late for treatment. Patients often cannot afford to pay and the government supply no assistance so they are struggling with resources such as medicines and equipment. Inter Care’s impact was very evident to see here how we do assist in their work.

Grounds at Baraki Health Centre

Communications have been a major problem when liaising with Inter Care in the past. We now have the correct information but need to take note of their request for us to communicate with WhatsApp. The level of English spoken here was excellent, as many of the Srs from the convent had lived in England. There was a Dutchman volunteering on the farm whilst we visited.

Official Site

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  • Bikiri Maria Mama Wa Tumaini Health Centre, Masanga
  • Bikiri Maria Mama Wa Tumaini Health Centre, Masanga

Bikiri Maria Mama Wa Tumaini Health Centre, Masanga

Overview

When Inter Care first visited to check this unit’s suitability for support in September 2017 we found it a large health centre with 65 beds across 5 wards. Located in a very remote region next to the Kenyan border and on the edge of the Serengeti National Park, the unit is surprisingly difficult to access due to very poor quality roads.

This centre has 24 fully qualified staff. These include 2 resident doctors, 5 clinical officers, a pharmacist and pharmacy assistant, 4 nurses and 6 midwives.  Even though there is plenty of staff, they still meet various challenges. This is because the centre serves a catchment population of in excess of 16,000 treating 6,250 adults per year, 5000 teenagers and 1100 under 12 years. They see 100 plus Outpatients and look after almost 300 Inpatients each month.

Staff

Sr Bibiane Nzali, Director / Administrator in charge of running the centre is from the Congo.  We found her to be extremely driven towards delivering their health projects.  Furthermore, she was proud of winning funding resulting in the construction of a new theatre block. It was almost complete at the time of our visit. And this upgrade will enable the Health Centre to apply for Hospital status.

Conclusion

As we toured the centre, Sr Bibiane told us about the cultural issues with witch doctors and local customs. They raise problems for patients receiving treatment in this region.  In addition to this, malnutrition is a serious problem. The health centre is able to provide porridge to their overnight patients.

In some months they have difficulties being able to afford to buy enough medical supplies and medicines. We concluded post visit that the health centre comfortably met Inter Care’s criteria. We now regularly support with basic medicines and dressings, in line with their specific requests.  Sr Bibiane commented that “they appreciate the help from Inter Care”, adding, “ local people are really poor and need to be helped”.

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Rainbow Centre, Moshi

This health unit is on a main road near the Catholic Cathedral in Moshi town centre.  It was started in the 1980s ostensibly as a ‘coffee-shop’ but, its true yet hidden function was a semi-official drop-in centre for individuals who suspected they had AIDS and wished to be tested discretely.  Initially run ‘on a shoe-string’ by a retired male nurse, nowadays it is run by Sr Ubaldi Kessey, staffed by the medical department of Moshi and predominantly focuses on helping HIV / AIDS patients.  Patients pay 1000 TZ Shillings (about 50p) for their test, thereafter treatment is free.

When Inter Care first visited we discovered staff and volunteers who are a very committed team, regularly going beyond the call of duty to help the patients they care for.  During our conversations, we established that although the centre was well supported by other sponsors (who cover staff salaries) they still had a great need for quality medical supplies from Inter Care.

Our most recent visit in August 2016 we saw evidence of development of their key activities; Providing health education on HIV/AIDS to the community, counselling and testing services (5-10 people per day), home bed care services, supporting orphans with school fees contributions, medication, materials, books, food, providing seed funding for small income generation activities, and the renting out of the ‘original coffee shop’ for income generation.

Staff reported to us that from the local population of 267,000 spread over 25 villages, incidence of AIDs was around 5% which has thankfully decreased from 10% over the past eight years. A drought was causing further problems and they were in dire need of help, desperately in need of money for food for children in homes because sadly, some children live alone as parents/grandparents are all deceased due to HIV.

Inter Care medicines that have been given free of charge in the last year (2015-16) helped a total of 233 patients. The centre’s main problem is inadequate funding.  Our donation of medicines indirectly helps Rainbow Centre financially as the money saved not having to buy medicines is redistributed to their other key activities.

Martha

Martha aged 43 years lives in Kibosho – a town and ward in the Moshi Rural district of the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. Martha is HIV positive. On top of this she is a widow whose husband died more than a decade ago from AIDs. At the time of his death he had left no will so unfortunately, she lost the family house as by law it went back to her deceased husband’s family who did not decide to help her. Consequently, she was left homeless with 5 children of which 3 are HIV positive.

The Rainbow Centre kindly helped Martha providing assistance in the form of food, school fees and most crucially helped her to help herself by donating a small grant which Martha used to buy a goat and equipment to brew banana beer. With the income Martha has raised from her business, at last she is now able to build her own home.

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Kibara Hospital

Kibara is a small rural hospital in a poor and deprived area. It is situated on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Victoria and is accessed by a 4 hour drive from the nearest city, Mwanza.

The hospital has 102 beds spread over its five wards serviced by 51 staff including 2 resident doctors and 16 nurses.  They treat in the region of 400 Outpatients and care for 200 Inpatients each month. We find the key challenges faced by this hospital are similar to those faced by so many other partner health units Inter Care support – funding and infrastructure.

Kibara seriously lacks adequate and regular funding and has ongoing problems with its electrical supply.  This was very evident to us when shown around wards with no lighting – we couldn’t really see what we were being shown (!). Staff bluntly explained “this is due to the cost of workers’ salaries and the Government failing to finance as was previously promised”.

Their medical needs are predominantly for antibiotics, which are in short supply due to the prophylactic treatment of HIV/AIDs patients, and them not being effectively supplied by the Government. In this part of the world hospitals have to pay excessive prices for their healthcare goods e.g. a single bandage cost £13. We know from experience that catheters and surgical equipment are also very expensive to buy in Tanzania and they too are much needed by this Hospital.

Overseas visits like these confirm to Inter Care’s management that our targeted medical aid is directly meeting local needs. Kibara continues to receive bi-annual consignments of aid to supplement their needs.

Mr. Nyamima, Nursing Officer in Charge commented “The support you give to us is very helpful to the hospital and its patients. Please continue to help the community improve their health status.  Thanks, God bless you all”

Mercy 

Mercy is a 16-year-old young woman, who lives 20 km from Kibara Hospital. During her recent pregnancy she attended her local dispensary initially for her antenatal care, but then had to be admitted to the hospital for the childbirth.

The good news is that she had a healthy baby boy weighing 3kgs who is doing very well. The bad news was that she was suffering from pre-eclampsia – a condition which pregnant women can develop and is marked by high blood pressure in women who haven’t had high blood pressure before. Although Mercy went to full term her blood pressure was so high: 200/120++ that even 4 days post-delivery her blood pressure was still raised, also she still displayed significant oedema particularly around her ankles.

During her antenatal care, she had never once had any screening test for proteinuria as there were no strips available.  This test would have enabled a fast diagnosis and treatment for the pre-eclampsia hence, avoiding the risk of serious complications which can affect both mother and baby. Luckily the outcome for Mercy and her baby was positive but it could just as easily not been.  A simple urine test was all that was needed.  Inter Care would like to help in the future by offering urine testing strips to the partner health units such as Kibara, to help young pregnant women just like Mercy.

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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

Bukwali Dispensary

Overview

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.  It suffered a lot of damage to the building and local infrastructure.

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

William lives across the road. His wife used to deliver the babies and his two daughters also work there. It has a family run feel to it.

Case Study

Zola, a 36 year old woman lived nearby with her four children and during the middle of night their home set on fire. The children managed to escape, however, Zola got badly burnt.

HOWEVER 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. She is 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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  • Nyarambo Health Centre
  • Nyarambo Health Centre
  • Nyarambo Health Centre
  • Nyarambo Health Centre

Nyarambo Health Centre

This 18-bed unit supports a very widespread population of 24,833 who are mostly subsistent farmers living off less than $1 per day. The health centre is located 1 hour north of Tarime on a rough road. Inter Care donations are clearly very valued here too as the day before we arrived Sr Josephine (In Charge) had badly broken her wrist and, admitted to the nearest hospital (one hour’s drive away in Shirati), discharged herself to ensure that she was in attendance herself to meet with us.

This was most definitely the poorest centre we visited, as its facilities were in very poor condition, there were no sheets on the beds and the mattresses were torn to shreds.   Although September is the quietest month in the region for patient numbers – there were many patients around this centre receiving treatment.

(Visit, September 2017)

 

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  • Chikuni Mission Hospital
  • Chikuni Mission Hospital
  • Chikuni Mission Hospital

Chikuni Mission Hospital

To find out more about this health centre, visit their official site

(images showing consignments received in 2019 and 2020)

 

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  • Mumbezhi Rural Health Centre
  • Mumbezhi Rural Health Centre
  • Mumbezhi Rural Health Centre

Mumbezhi Rural Health Centre

To find out more about this health centre, visit their Official Site

(images sent to Inter Care via our partners at the health centre)

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  • Kacema Children’s Home
  • Kacema Children’s Home

Kacema Children’s Home

Find out more via our partner’s facebook page

(Images sent to Inter Care via email in 2018)

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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

Overview

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 set up and the challenges

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. These are the furthest away from the hospital. They serve 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.

How we help

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

The hospital was spotless and organised well.

Finally, the Inter Care team 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. These were passed on to the sisters at the seminary.

(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

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 and the braille room. 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 200km 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.

Official Site

(Saturday 18th Jun 2011)
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  • Mulilansolo Rural Mission Hospital
  • Mulilansolo Rural Mission Hospital

Mulilansolo Rural Mission Hospital

Overview

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.

Furthermore, 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.

Challenges

Firstly, 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.

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

(Visit, June 2011)

Official Site

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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. It has 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. She was pro-actively engaging with local government on weak infrastructure issues/ These included such road improvements 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 in 5 types of wards. 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 that the Supplies from Inter Care in a separate storeroom. 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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  • St Fidelis Hospital
  • St Fidelis Hospital

St Fidelis Hospital

Overview

St Fidelis Hospital is part of the Archdiocese of Kasama. This a large city in Northern Zambia.  The hospital is situated at the end of a ‘particularly uncomfortable’ 45-minute drive from Kasama. We went over some very rough roads indeed (!).  St Fidelis is part of the small community of Chilubula. The hospital has a church, a convent and a school. The hospital serves approximately 14,500 people, the remotest of whom have to travel up to 80km to see a nurse or doctor. In addition, many other people travel to St Fidelis Hospital from outside their catchment area for treatment.

How they are run

On our last visit, we found they had recently finished building a new operating theatre and opened a dental clinic. The hospital is efficiently run with a pervading sense of discipline and order by Sr Elizabeth Chanda. The staff consisting:

  • 2 doctors
  • 7 clinical officers
  • 1 medical assistant
  • 1 pharmacy assistant
  • 16 qualified nurses
  • 5 midwives
  • 1 laboratory technician

Owing to both the long distance (35km) to the nearest referral hospital (Kasama General) and the appalling state of the Zambian roads, between them this team deal with all but the most serious cases.

The challenges

The hospital has 100 beds over 6 types of wards – Female, Medical, Children, Maternity, High Cost and Casualty. They receive between 20-40 stock deliveries per month and also support four out-reach clinics up to 40 km away. They showed us their well-equipped laboratory and explained that they aspired to offer 3 meals per day unfortunately; this was not always possible simply due to lack of finances.  The other challenge the hospital faces includes the distance required to access and purchase medicines. They are also very expensive.

Inter Care medical supplies contribution made up 40% of their medical needs which are clearly significant. For example, they had not long received a consignment from us when we visited however, all of the paediatric syrup and creams had gone in the first two weeks!  Inter Care continue to supply medical aid such as basic medicines and dressings on a bi-annual basis.

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  • Mporokoso School for the Blind
  • Mporokoso School for the Blind

Mporokoso School for the Blind

Overview

Mporokoso School, founded in 1961 is very remotely situated 185 km from Kasama (a large city in Northern Zambia). When driving from Kasama it can take a full days travel to reach the school because of the poor condition of the roads. Upon your eventual arrival, you may be greeted by up to 172 students. These are children who are all either blind, partially sighted or with albinism (50% sighted) and are looked after by Sr Hilary, the headmistress of the school.

Challenges

These young people face a unique life challenge – i.e. many of the children suffer from sunburn due to the lack of pigmentation in their skin and obviously there are a large number of eye diseases. A large proportion of the children have been left blind or with failing sight as a result of living in the Kapata region where many eye infections are easily picked up from the lake water. The school makes all its own Braille books by translating textbooks and reading books including an edition of the bible.  Key staff S. Charity and Mr Wilson treat any and all of the health problems encountered by the children and their families in the immediate area.

When we visited

When Inter Care staff last visited we joined in with some of the class activities. The work of the school and the teachers there is amazing. Our staff remarked afterwards “The children have such an air of confidence about them” and “we could see in person what good work is being carried out there”  With medicines being very costly and located such a great distance from the school Inter Care supply 100% of their medical needs and continue to do so.

Special thanks

Special thanks to The Ulverscroft Foundation for their on-going support donating to Inter Care every year since 2011. Their funding enables us to send much needed medical aid and equipment to both St Mary’s and Mporokoso. The are both Schools for the Blind in Zambia. Mporokoso received a grant of £2,500 donated in April 2017. This went exclusively towards supporting the two schools for visually impaired children.

These schools received 2 consignments each containing; range of basic drugs and included items such as sunglasses, large print books, blankets, teddies, disinfectant wipes and medicated shampoo. These types of items are larger and much heavier than compared with medications. They cost more to send.  These items are needed for the care of these children. Many of them have Albinism.  These children live together in a ‘boarding school’ situation to protect them.

Sr Mwansa recently commented “Thank you to Inter Care for the wonderful work rendered to our institution by providing us with medicines and other items related to health.  Please keep the Spirit”

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