Government District Hospital located in the beautiful surroundings of the tea and coffee plantations of Thyolo, situated in the Shiree highlands about 34 Km from Blantyre in one of the most fertile and beautiful areas of Malawi. The hospital functions as a secondary referral centre, receiving patients from 37 health centres. Serious complications are referred on to Queen’s Hospital or to CURE Hospital in Blantyre. Thyolo lies at the centre of the district and borders nearby Mosambique; the hospital often receives patient referrals from Mosambique. Although built much earlier, it was then re-built in 2005 as a new hospital. The hospital serves the population of Thyolo, which stands at 611,000.
The hospital functions as a teaching hospital for doctors, nurses, clinical officers and medical assistants. The hospital comprises all of the main departments of a district hospital. It has 4 operating theatres and a maternity unit. The hospital does have a physiotherapy unit but needs help to develop staff training in this area.
The hospital was awarded a centre of excellence in infection prevention and has innovative management.
Clinics include cervical cancer screening and treatment, ARV clinic, communicable diseases, chest clinic, surgical clinic, gynaecology and an orthopaedic department. A paediatric clinic is in planning stages. The hospital has a 24 hour A&E and are developing a high dependence unit.
The hospital has 2 Malawian medical doctors, 26 clinical officers, 88 nurses together with medical assistants and patient attendants.
The hospital encourages community surgery, i.e. they try to give capacity and training to the health centres to try to enable the health centres to manage cases, rather to refer on. Visiting surgeons would be encouraged to visit local health centres and provide training. They conduct medical health camps in the surrounding health centres and the high employment within the tea estates makes occupation health a priority.
General surgeons, gynaecologists, orthopaedic, ENT, ophthalmologists and physiotherapists. Elective students welcome. There is currently collaboration with Amsterdam Medical Centre, which sends elective students out to Thyolo.
The hospital is located approximately 50 Km from the main airport near Blantyre and about 34 Km from Blantyre town. Visitors can be met at the airport by arrangement with the hospital.
Available on site. Usually no cost for visiting surgeons but elective students should liaise with the hospital regarding costs.
Three months is optimal for learning the local and hospital culture and being most effective, but length of stay will largely depend on the visitor. Surgeons would be encouraged to stay as long as possible.
A tourist visa is required for Malawi for UK visitors, but a temporary employment permit must be obtained for stays of more than three months. To view more information, click on this link.
This is a very friendly hospital and newly built making it feel fairly modern by African standards. We were made to feel very welcome. The theatres are good although if you wish to do surgery, you will need to bring your own scrubs, gowns, double gloves, shoes etc and any that you can leave behind will be welcome. In addition, local anaesthetic is welcome if you are going to use it! For research/audit purposes there are good logbooks kept on the wards and in the outpatients. There is also an emergency department. There are usually a number of other expats and medical students there who are welcoming and sociable.
There is a morning report each morning with those on call overnight reporting any interesting cases and where deaths are discussed. This also includes the lastest news on pharmacy shortages or other issues. This also acts as a teaching session and this room can be used for other teaching/training.
The hospital sits on the tea estates and if you have your own transport and spare cash, some time on the Satemwa tea estate is well worth it. You can walk up through the tea estate to Thyolo mountain. The climate is cool and Malawians are very friendly and do not hassle. There is a market outside the hospital where you can buy anything from chickens to cloth. There are some small shops along the high street and there are a couple of bars and even a cinema!
If you dont have your own transport, Thyolo district hospital is easily accessible by local transport (minibus) from Blantyre. If you have spare time and want to explore/take a bit of a holiday, there are plenty of options. The Mulanje massif is meant to be good for walking, and there are wildlife parks and of course, Lake Malawi. Enjoy!
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- Mike Billingsley reviewed 8 months ago
- last edited 8 months ago
Thyolo is a great hospital located in the tea plantation district. The area is very safe, people are incredibly friendly and there is a lot to do/learn. Lunch is at food cottage and make sure you buy a hotplate or something to cook dinner with in Blantyre, most restaurants close early. You can play football on the pitch opposite, Mulanje is a short trip away for hiking and ‘council’ is the spot for beers and bbq pork. Enjoy!!
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