Malawi is called ‘warm heart of Africa’ because of its very kind population. The country is situated in South East Africa, between Zambia, Tanzania en Mozambique. Lilongwe is the capital city of Malawi and Blantyre is the largest city. The country has a democratically elected government and is not in war. However, poverty, hunger, natural disasters and diseases like malaria and aids nevertheless call for urgent help to the people of this country.
Malawi has almost 20 million inhabitants (2022) (source: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/malawi-population/) and spans three times the size of the Netherlands. One fifth of Malawi consists of water: Lake Malawi. The Shire River flows from Lake Malawi over a distance of 402 kilometer to the south of Malawi, where it flows into the Zambezi River (Mozambique).
English is the official language, one of the national languages is Chichewa, which is spoken in the Chikwawa-district and in most of the south of Malawi. Malawi has seventeen other languages, of which some have several dialects. About 40% of the Malawians is illiterate, waarvan 28% onder de mannen en 51% onder de vrouwen.
Medical situation in Malawi
The district Chikhwawa (4.755 km2) has one government hospital and a few government funded health clinics. The area is far from the closest city and the clinics are distant from each other. Heat and drought makes the district an unattractive location for development work. About 430.000 people live here, of which about 210.000 children below 16 yo.
FIGURES & FACTS MALARIA (2018)
Worldwide, on an annual basis 400.000 people die due to malaria. 75% of the deceased are children below five years of age. Nine out of ten deadly malaria cases are reported in Africa, mostly in the poorest countries of sub-Sahara Africa, among which Malawi. In 2018 almost 3.000 death cases were reported here with this cause. Malaria has a devastating economic and social effect, because it enhances poverty and decay.
Source: World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241565721
FIGURES & FACTS HIV/AIDS (2018)
In Malawi 9 % of the people, aged between 15 and 49 have been infected with HIV, that can cause the disease aids. It is estimated that 900.000 of the people of Malawi have been infected with HIV or have developed the disease aids, of which 100.000 children below the age of 15 years.
Source: World Health Organization: http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.country.country-MWI
Start of the project
The work in Lauji One were started by Chris Onderstal in 2010. From 2001 on, she works in Malawi and she currently is the managing director of the project. Over the years Chris has amalgamated a team of dedicated Malawians.
Ahava means love in Hebrew. Love is the driving force behind all our work. It expresses our Christian belief we do our work for the Lord God.
From the start the Foundation Ahava Ministries is supported from the Nederlands by a group of faithful volunteers, who dedicate their expertise and passion for this project. In addition this project is supported by several churches and the Missionary division of the association of Pentecostal and Evangelical Churches in the Netherlands (VPE-Zending).
From the start of the project there is a cooperation agreement with the government hospital in Chikhwawa. We share knowlegde with and refer patients to the hospital. If needed we use a bicycle ambulance to transport patients to the hopital.
We intend to expand the cooperation in the future to realize weekly visits of a medical doctor to our clinic, who can perform medical procedures that are beyond our medical competence.
We endeavor to cooperate as much as possible with the local community. We have, for example, a firm and enduring relationships with the elders of the surrounding villages.
We would like to get in contact with a hospital in the Netherlands to enter into a partnership to cooperate. From a medical point of view there are several opportunities for research in Chikhwawa in the field of tropical diseases. Increased knowlegde of tropical diseases could in return be beneficial to the medical care provided in the clinic.