- Title: MALAWI: Newly refurbished health centre to care for 100,000 Malawians
- Date: 24th September 2007
- Summary: MALAWI DIRECTOR, ICELANDIC INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (ICEIDA), SKAFTI JONSSON, CARRYING A BABY
- Embargoed: 9th October 2007 13:00
- Location: Malawi
- Country: Malawi
- Topics: Health
- Reuters ID: LVAER78I8SVSJXU8GVRB9EZO90YF
- Story Text: The lakeside district of Mangochi in Malawi has high rates of HIV/Aids and malaria infections, but most people in the region can't afford proper treatment. The Icelandic Development Agency (ICEIDA) has helped build a modern health facility that will cater for over 100,000 people there.
The town of Monkey Bay, lies on the southern shores of Lake Malawi, about 300 kilometres from Blantyre, Malawi's commercial capital. Monkey Bay is relatively small but its beautiful beaches and abundant marine life means many tourists pass through here every year.
A high HIV/AIDs prevalence rate has been blamed on tourism and Monkey Bay's proximity to the lake means that the area is also prone to malaria.
For years, the Monkey Bay community hospital was the sole provider of health care services to people who live around here. But, the health services it offered were limited to minor ailments and people with more serious illnesses had to walk to Mangochi district hospital, 60 kilometres away.
The Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA), has been working on many projects in the area. One of them has been the rehabilitation of the Monkey Bay community hospital, which has now been expanded to cater to over 100,000 people.
Dorothy Tchale has been coming here ever since she became pregnant.
According to World Bank statistics, Malawi's has one of the world's highest maternal mortality ratios at 984 per 100,000 live births.
"The nurses are doing a commendable job here. Things have changed we are getting the necessary treatment. Now, we have at least four to five safe deliveries on average each day. Health services have improved greatly," said Tchale.
The refurbished hospital now boasts of many state-of-the-art facilities.
"We have new services that have come in like the VCT, the ARV, the laboratory, the dental, the rehabilitation. We have the laboratory technician who also provides rehabilitation to the disability patients. So these are the services that are very new to Monkey Bay. So really there is a change in the provision of health services in Monkey Bay," said George Manjolo, the hospital's superintendent.
ICEIDA is also constructing a major and minor theatre where surgeries can be performed by the end of the year.
"ICEIDA is working in four African countries and Malawi is the biggest partner and this is the biggest single project we are involved in. I think, actually, in many ways it suits Iceland very well to work in Malawi because Malawi in a way is a much much bigger than Iceland, the establishment is small," said Skafti Jonsson, the Country Director of ICEIDA's Malawi operation.
Malawi only spends about 13 percent of its GDP on health care which is not enough to meet the needs of its 12.6 million people, especially since 14 percent of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS.
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