Zimbabwe is a country in southeastern Africa that is slightly larger than Montana but with a population of 12.5 million, compared with one million residents in Montana. The country is impoverished, with more than 70% of Zimbabweans unemployed and underfed. In Zimbabwe, education is a privilege, fuel is scarce and the cost of basic commodities, such as bread, is quickly rising. HIV/AIDS is ravaging the country. An estimated 2,500 men, women and children die of HIV/AIDS-related illnesses every week. There is much suffering and tremendous need.
About 100 miles northeast of the capital city of Harare is Nyadire, where Nyadire United Methodist Hospital (NUMH) is located. It is a part of the larger Nyadire Mission complex, which includes one primary and one secondary school, a teachers college, a United Methodist church, and a cooperative farm.
Today the 240-bed hospital offers healthcare to approximately 500,000 men, women and children in the immediate region surrounding Nyadire. Serving approximately 150,000 patients each year, NUMH strives to deliver quality health care services and improve the quality of life in the community while facing serious social and political presures, and severely limited resources.
At Nyadire, the most common patient ailments include tuberculosis, malaria, pneumonia, malnutrition, and hypertension. HIV/AIDS is also commonly seen at the hospital, especially in pregnant mothers. The hospital provides a range of primary and preventative health care services to address these maladies including general medicine, women's health, surgery, pediatrics, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria treatment, an immunization outreach program, as well as a special "Under 5 Clinic" that provides life-saving vaccines and instructs mothers on how to properly care for their young children.
NUMH also maintains a theatre, or operating room. Before the arrival of Dr. Anand Rao there were no surgeries being performed at the hospital. Now, Dr. Rao regularly conducts Cesarean-sections for mothers experiencing difficult, even life-threatening pregnancies, as well as operations for tumor removals and skin grafts, just to name a few.
Finally, the Nyadire School of Nursing (SON) resides next door to the hospital. The school currently provides instruction to 80 students from around the country in primary care nursing. The largest school of nursing in Zimbabwe, it is where most of the Nyadire United Methodist Hospital's staff receive their training. A few years ago, the school was forced to close down but it reopened in 2004 in response to the alarming number of qualified nurses leaving Zimbabwe for countries like the United Kingdom.
The hospital has many services to offer its patients and the Nyadire community, but there is still a great need. The primary challenge currently facing Nyadire United Methodist Hospital is the retention and adequate training of its staff. In Zimbabwe rural hospitals customarily provide their staff with living quarters. While there are some homes in Nyadire for the doctors and more senior nurses, there are not enough for all of the staff.
Though the hospital is kept meticulously clean by the matron and her staff, the building infrastructure is in need of repair. Today, there are areas where the roofing needs to be restored, and most of the hospital needs to be repainted.
Supplies that are considered essential in North American healthcare such as gauze, gloves and sutures for stitching-- are in short supply and, at times, nonexistent at NUMH. All of the doctors and nurses speak of the need for pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, painkillers and anti-retroviral drugs for HIV patients.
The Nyadire School of Nursing boasts a reputation for training some of the best nurses in Zimbabwe, despite the lack of money, supplies and space. Basic materials such as textbooks, paper and pens are limited. The head tutor also longs for a photocopier and computers for the school. Currently there are not enough dorm rooms to accommodate all of the students. And many students, who arrive at the school with little or no belongings, often do not have enough food to eat.
In such a challenging environment, the need for increased assistance is urgent. Learn how you can contribute to Nyadire United Methodist Hospital.
Despite the hardships faced by the patients and community of Nyadire, the true spirit of Nyadire United Methodist Hospital lies within the hospital staff, the patients, and the surrounding United Methodist, Christian community. Their caring hands are truly the vessels of God's good work on earth. To read more about the hospital's amazing doctors, clinicians and nurses, visit the "Meet the Staff" page.
Cherian Thomas, Executive Secretary
Nyadire United Methodist Hospital
Contributions to Nyadire may be sent through a local United Methodist church, Annual Conference or by mailing a check to: The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Room #330, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115. Call toll-free 1-800-554-8583 to make a credit card donation. Write checks out to UMCOR. Be sure to include Nyadire: Hospital Revitalization, Advance #982168 on the memo line. One hundred percent of your contribution will go to Nyadire United Methodist Hospital.
Photos: 1. A sign welcomes visitors and patients to Nyadire United Methodist Mission Station in Zimbabwe. The cross and flame is the logo of The United Methodist Church. Photo by Amy Squires 2004. 2. A young mother sits by the bed of her young child who is being treated for severe malnutrition by Nyadire United Methodist Hospital's staff. Photo by Amy Squires 2004. 3. Students come from across Zimbabwe to study at the Nyadire United Methodist Hospital's esteemed School of Nursing. Photo by Amy Squires 2004.
Nyadire United Methodist Hospital, Advance #982168
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