In Malawi, where 14 percent of the population suffers from HIV/AIDS, AmeriCares partner, the Malamulo Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, runs support groups that gather members of the community who have the disease to discuss their conditions and their health. The fact that the hospital is openly addressing the health issues and personal concerns that go along with HIV/AIDS is atypical in this part of the world.

“I was impressed by the love and care I saw among the people there,” remarked AmeriCares Program Manager Elikem Tomety Archer. “There is a great feeling of hope when you are around them.”

AmeriCares has partnered with the Malamulo Hospital since 2003, when a severe health and food crisis plagued the country. We continue to send regular shipments of medicines such as antibiotics, anti-fungals and other basic medical supplies for primary care and to treat the various opportunistic infections that are associated with HIV/AIDS. The hospital’s Community Health Department focuses on dealing with the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in its communities through the support groups as well as training programs.

Hilda Petani of Malamulo Hospital (center) and her team with patients.

Thanks to AmeriCares support, the hospital has trained volunteers who provide assistance to many of the group members living in remote areas. Since the distances are far, AmeriCares supplied the volunteers with bicycles so they could assist these people in hard to reach places. AmeriCares also provided backpacks for the volunteers to help transfer supplies such as medicines to treat ailments related to the disease. The trained volunteers also monitor the health of the group members in case any need advanced care. For some, it takes several hours traveling on unpaved roads that are difficult to navigate to reach the nearest hospital or clinic for treatment.

The programs reflect the hospital’s commitment to a holistic approach in dealing with HIV/AIDS through educating people in the community about their health and promoting healthy lifestyles. Our partners at Malamulo Hospital tell us they have seen a 98 percent success rate in preventing mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS since they began a more targeted approach to responding to the disease in their community. This is particularly encouraging, as Malawi’s maternal mortality rate, which has tripled since 1990, is one of the highest in the world. Many children suffer from chronic malnutrition. And, children under 5 die at an alarming rate from preventable diseases. Through Malamulo Hospital’s resolute efforts to educate and treat the people of its communities and through AmeriCares support, they are making a great deal of progress.