About MalawiMalawi is one of Africa’s poorest countries and in 1995 was ranked as the ninth poorest country in the world. More than 60% of the population is living below the poverty line and Malawi’s health indicators are amongst the worst in the world, with a life expectancy of only 39 years. According to the Status of Palliative Care produced by the Malawi Ministry of Health in June 2015, one percent of the population needs palliative care at any given time, primarily due to AIDS and cancer (In Malawi, palliative care is synonymous withhospice care). Two leading causes of death today are cervical cancer and Kaposi sarcoma.
Among the many challenges Nkhoma Hospital faces are a lack of funding, an insufficient number of qualified medical personnel, and overcrowding (in the children’s ward two to three children are forced to share a single bed). Since the beginning of our partnership in 2014, the number of palliative patients served by Nkhoma Hospital has increased from 150 to 450. While the need for palliative care is rapidly growing, so is the need for qualified medical staff to care for these patients. Currently NkhomaHospital has only four team members tending to all 450 patients. Compounding this staffing challenge is the fact that a condition of funding for palliative care is that one of the staff members must hold a bachelor’s degree in palliative care. This education is costly and requires time away from both thehospital and patients.
As experts in end-of-life care, Hospice of the North Coast is committed to a partnership with Nkhoma Hospital because we believe that together, with the proper resources, we can reduce pain and suffering for the people of Malawi.
HNC’s CommitmentIn January 2017, HNC took a team to Malawi to assess the needs at Nkhoma Hospital. Later that year, HNC sponsored four palliative care team members from Nkhoma Hospital to spend two weeks shadowing our hospice team locally in North County. As a result of our time together, observing and learning about their needs and challenges, it was determined that the priorities of our partnership would be education, staff resources, and the acquisition of medication and medical supplies. Of course, fundraising is crucial to accomplish our goals and will require community champions to join our efforts.
As a global partner with Nkhoma Hospital, Hospice of the North Coast:► Supports the educational costs of one physician to earn a bachelor’s degree in hospice and palliative care
► Drives fundraising efforts to support one year’s salary for a social worker
► Seeks ongoing donations of medication and medical supplies
► Will launch an awareness campaign to build partnership champions
(Through funding from Hospice of the North Coast, Nkhoma Hospital’s Dr. Sam Kabota returned to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in palliative care. He will complete his degree in 2018).
How can you help?► Join the Global Partners Committee: participate in monthly planning meetings
► Become a Champion: the Champion Program provides the opportunity for any individual, group or organization to contribute towards one of the following funds:
• Education & training fund: provides an educational opportunity for a doctor or nurse in Malawi
• Staffing fund: pays the annual salary of a social worker
• Medical fund: enables the acquisition of medications and medical supplies
• Travel fund: allows our Malawi partners to visit us in the United States for further collaboration
► Spread awareness: invite us to present the mission of our Global Partnership with your club,
civic group or organization