A decade of medical excellence – with more to come


The work of KINDLE Orphan Outreach is supported by SIM Malawi project

MW96758 KINDLE Outreach and Development in Nanjoka

In the next issue of Malawi Amoto, we will look more closely at the work of KINDLE in education








In this, the first of four articles on KINDLE Orphan Outreach’s work in specific areas, we look at its work in Healthcare, much of which is now centred on the well respected Katawa Community Clinic and its community-outreach work. New services are being introduced and others planned, as the Katawa management team looks to build on its already formidable reputation

Katawa Community Clinic, in theory, serves a catchment area of about 20 kilometres’ radius from the facility, in which live around 10,000 people. In practice, however, it treats people from much further afield, such is the reputation it has established in the decade since the clinic was first opened.

Decade of service: The Katawa Community Clinic has built up a strong reputation in the ten years it has been serving the community

One of the recently developed services that has been improved is ante-natal care and cervical-cancer screening in a specialist unit. This unit also offers education for mothers with new-born babies and for those coming for cervical screening. The work at the unit, as Chimwemwe Lodzeni, a Nurse Midwife working in ante-natal care and the cervical screening, says, is having a marked impact on women in the local community.

“In this unit on Tuesdays and Thursdays we do ante-natal and every Friday we screen for cervical cancer women who are interested,” she said.

“Sometimes they come here because they are advised by clinicians to come for screening. Many of the women come here from a distance and many of them come when they hear that here at Katawa we offer the screening. The ante-natal work and the cervical-cancer screening are having a big impact on the women,” she said.

But this is only a small, though significant, part of the range of medical services, conditions and diseases Katawa looks after.

“We deal with a number of conditions here at Katawa; mainly malaria, pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) especially in children, even STDs and diarrhoea,” said Lydia Mwimba, Enrolled Nurse Midwife.

“We also treat skin diseases, such as chicken pox. Hypertension is very common here, also asthmatic cases and even epilepsy. The hypertension is caused both by the amount of salt people use in their diet and also because the water in this area has a higher than normal salt content,” she said.

Cervical cancer screening: Nurse Midwife Chimwemwe Lodzeni (standing) running an education class about Cervical Cancer and the screening that is available at Katawa Community Clinic

All of these diseases are treated in the Katawa out-patient clinic, although there are three observation beds where the more serious cases can be kept until well enough to be discharged or transferred to the Salima District Hospital for further treatment.

Katawa is deeply embedded in the local community which it serves, and it was a response to a growing need in that community which led to its foundation. In the early years of this century, people who were ill in the Nanjoka area would often arrive at the farm of Paul and Marilyn Barr which is close to where the Clinic is now established. The people came to the farm, requesting transport to get them to Salima District Hospital for treatment.

Andrew Barr, one of SIM Malawi’s missionaries Paul and Marilyn’s sons, decided that a clinic was needed near the farm which would be within walking distance for many people in the community.

“Katawa Clinic started in 2007 and it was started at a missionary’s farm. Initially, people started to go to the farm to seek transport whenever they were sick, and at that time the sick people were being taken to Salima District Hospital. Having seen that there were a lot of patients being taken such a distance, it was decided to have a hospital this side of the farm,” said Felix Mwaliliwo Katawa’s Clinical Officer.

“The missionary then contacted the traditional leaders here to be allocated the land. A chief from this area granted this request, which allowed for the construction of the clinic.”

Katawa has a new Clinic Manager, Arafat Tembo, who has some clear ideas of how he wants to see the facility develop. Having taken up his new post in February 2017, he talked about how he sees the next phase of Katawa’s development taking shape.

“The development of the clinic in the future will depend on the number of patients that we are seeing because, apart from serving the people from within the catchment area which KINDLE is serving, we also have other patients coming from outside the catchment area,” he said.

“Also, we have some new services that we have introduced like ante-natal, we also have the cervical screening service. These services do not have a specific place where they can be delivered so we are looking forward to having more infrastructure to open so that these services can be settled and delivered properly. 

“One of the key parts of the infrastructure will be a fully fledged maternity wing where we can improve all the services for maternity and child care.

Key personnel: (left to right) Arafat Tembo, Clinic Manager, Lydia Mwimba, Nurse Midwife, and Felix Mwaliliwe, Clinical Officer

“But, we have a problem with electricity. We don’t have reliable power at the moment so some of the services we are delivering require using a generator and, in some cases, solar power. But with the development of the services I mentioned earlier on, we need ESCoM [Energy Supply Company of Malawi, the national electricity supply company] power – electricity.

“Katawa Clinic is having a great impact, especially on the people in the area, because we are treating some of the diseases for which they may have been referred to another hospital in Salima. It has really reduced the distance that people have to travel from here to the district hospital and also to other neighbouring facilities.

“It has also improved the nutritional status of the people, including the children, because we provide nutritional services here. We do have in-clinic services as well as outreach services, so it has really made a difference because we are reaching people in their community with services from here.

In the ten years since it was established, Katawa Community Clinic has made a significant difference to the quality of healthcare the people in its catchment can access, and has also had a major beneficial impact on the health of that community. And there is more to come, as Arafat Tembo explained. So, does he view the future with confidence?

“Very much hopeful because we can see that the disease burden is now reducing,” he said.

“We have very few people who are being referred to different places because of what we can offer from this facility. I am certain this will continue as the new facilities are developed, and I am confident that Katawa Community Clinic will continue to serve and improve the health of the community it serves.”



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