Feb 06 2017

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Support matters

Over the years, the English Reformed Church, with additional contributions from Wilde Ganzen and International Rotary Club Amsterdam, has sponsored a number of projects for the Mulanje Mission Hospital. Their latest fundraising event, a Victorian Christmas Evening in December, was a great success and the € 25.000 target to improve the hospital’s laboratory services has been reached.

“At the moment we have one big room in which we try to do biochemistry, hematology, microbiology with very little differentiation of equipment. So the funding will first of all help us develop a dedicated microbiology lab, which is so important to the diagnosis of tropical diseases and then to develop our hematology and biochemistry departments,” says Dr. Ruth Shakespeare.

Ruth has been Medical Director at the Mulanje Mission Hospital for six years and although the overall healthcare situation in Malawi is deteriorating it has constantly improved at the Mulanje Mission Hospital.

“The English Reformed Church have been supporting us magnificently over the years and thanks to your fundraising in 2015 we’ve just opened a new 20-bedded antenatal ward for our maternity department. Before the women coming to give birth had to lie on mats on the floor in our waiting area,” she says.

The hospital was founded by Scottish missionaries in the 19th century and retains its links with the Church of Scotland. Today the hospital has 204 beds, two schools, a nursing college and a small factory as well as a very big public and primary healthcare programme looking after about 85.000 people in 72 villages. The challenges are huge in a country estimated to be the third poorest in the world and where three out of four people live on less than one dollar a day.

“Climate change and floods ruins almost 90 percent of the harvest. So a normal production of say 50 bags of sweet potatoes are down to only five bags. Obviously there’s nothing to sell and already by September the stock runs out,” explains Ruth Shakespeare. Then there’s the impact of HIV/Aids, which is enormous in the whole of Malawi, with 10.6 percent of the adult population living with HIV.

“In the Mulanje district it’s even higher and the impact on our health services are huge. Two out of three admissions to our hospital are HIV related and as part of our palliative care program we have 8.000 patients in treatment.“

The good news is that over the last decade, impressive efforts to reduce the HIV epidemic have been made at both national and local levels and new infections have dramatically declined.

Dr. Ruth Shakespeare and her staff are doing a tremendous job under very difficult circumstances and although she stresses that their finances work in God’s economy and that all they can do is their best and being honest, the hospital greatly appreciate the continuing support from the English Reformed Church in helping to achieve the things they set out to do.

By Jens Anders Wejsmark Sorensen

Permanent link to this article: http://www.mmh.mw/support-matters/

1 comment

  1. blackbiz

    Mulanje Mission Hospital (MMH) is a mission hospital of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian located in Southern Malawi, close to the Mozambique border. There is a strong commitment to fellowship and evangelism and each day morning prayers are led by one of the hospital employees.

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