St. Joseph’s Hospital was founded by a Catholic Congregation of Daughters of Wisdom Sisters, in the Archdiocese of Blantyre in 1953. The Daughters of Wisdom Sisters are involved in different pastoral services such as education, health and social work. The Catholic Mission Hospitals in the country complements government efforts in the health sector through its health units scattered across the Archdiocese especially in rural areas.
St. Joseph’s hospital operates on a not for profit basis and tries to solicit some extra income by offering the services of private rooms and consultations. The money is used to cover for the running costs of the hospital and to assist patients who cannot afford to pay.
The catchment population for the hospital is around 46,000, although they see more patients as people travel from other districts to benefit from the excellent care at the hospital. The community in Chiradzulu District is mainly rural and the life style is based on subsistence farming. Only a minority of the population has a paying job or a viable private business. Most of the people live below the poverty line, which is affecting the daily operations of the hospital because most of them cannot afford hospital user fees.
The Hospital offers preventative, curative, rehabilitative and teaching services. There is a Nursing / Midwifery College for 450 students. St Joseph’s refer to Queens tertiary hospital and act in the capacity of district hospital level.
The attractive campus comprises OPD services, (outpatients), maternity and ante-natal, HIV services, male, female and paediatric wards, a dental clinic, primary healthcare services, 2 large operating theatres, minor theatre for small procedures, pharmacy a well-equipped lab, X-Ray and ultrasound facilities.
All visiting health professionals and students must be registered with the Malawi Medical Council
General surgeons, Obs and Gynae, Urology. Orthopaedic surgeons. However, all disciplines welcome in addition to nurses. Also elective students welcome.
Set on a lovely campus, St. Joseph’s Hospital is situated in a beautiful rural location in Nguludi, Chiradzulu District, but in fact it is only 35 kilometers North East of Blantyre City. From Blantyre, it is a nice easy drive on good tarmac roads. The location provides great opportunities to visit nearby Mulanje Mountain and the tea estates at weekends and also easy access to Blantyre for shopping. The hospital can also organize trips to Lake Malawi.
Visiting doctors and other clinicians usually stay at the accommodation provided by St Joseph’s. Visitors will stay in a house and fees will include laundry services.
Fees in the region of $150/week, but negotiable with the hospital depending on length of stay.
The hospital will accommodate any length of stay, but ideally, staff recommend a minimum stay of three months.
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.
Hospital Mission Statement:
The Mission Statement for St. Joseph’s Hospital to follow the Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ by providing preventative and curative health care as well as rehabilitative services and develops and empowers the people at community level without discrimination and with preferential option to the poor.
Visitors are not required to be Catholic, or even church-goers, but the hospital staff welcome anyone to their services, held in the beautiful mission church on site.
- Gert Jan Montagne reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
From 1983 until 1986 my Sonja and I spent three wonderful years living and working at St Joseph’s hospital, Nguludi. I was one of the many Dutch tropical doctors sent over the years to Nguludi by the Memisa foundation now known as Cordaid. On arrival Sonja was asked by the hospital to work in the hospital pharmacy, a task she more than happily undertook.
The hospital managed by the Canadian and British Daughters of Wisdom enjoyed a warm and close relationship with the nearby Fathers of Immaculate Conception from Holland who run the Institute of the Deaf and the teachers college (nowadays called Catholic University). As a result there was continuous construction activity, maintenance and administrative support.
In those days the condition of the nearby Chriradzulu District Hospital was more than deplorable as was the situation in most other government District Hospitals in the country. In contrast St Joseph’s as many other private CHAM hospitals benefeting of overseas support was able to provide a wide spectrum of high standard medical service. Moreover the fame of the Nguludi School of Nursing added to the hospitals reputation throughout the country.
In the eighties the malawian population was estimated 7 million people but I remember the workload of one medical officer, one clinical officer and one medical assistant to be similar to the one presented in recent annual reports. Nguludi hospital and its outreach clinics attracted patients from Chiradzulu, Mulanje and Thyolo District. Being close to town many wealthy town people from Limbe and Blantyre preferred to travel the sometimes slippery dirt road and pay for Nguludi’s high standard care.
Things have changed. Chiradzulu and Thyolo District hospitals are housed in grand EEC-funded new buildings, have medical staff including many clinical officers and a growing number of malawi trained medical officers. The government hospitals indeed offer free medical care but ….suffer from longstanding and increasing shortages of even the most basic medical supplies like syringes, gauze, medication, catheters. At present a beautiful tarmac road connects Nguludi to Limbe/Blantyre and Mulanje. However, the economic situation of most of the malawians (16 million today!) is very poor especially for those living in the rural areas like Chiradzulu. Unfortunately these patients have hardly any choice but go to paying hospitals like St Joseph’s Nguludi for maternity of general medical care. At the hospital there are arrangements for patients not able to pay.
St Joseph’s hospital management and medical staff nowadays is malawian. I remember the matron Sister Mercy as she arrived as a novice in the 1980’s. In all those long years she has developed a strong wish to improve St Joseph’s services. She is supported by a fine team of well trained and ambitious clinical officers and nurses enjoying above average facilities at Nguludi. With the present situation of the government medical institutions the private CHAM hospitals in my view may still (or again?) play an important role in the national health care.
We came with our 2 mo old daughter Anouk, our son Bob was born in the “doctor’s house” at Nguludi and we keep very warm memories of the time. It is a more than pleasant place to stay.
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St Joseph Hospital in Nguludi already was an accessible and good mission hospital in the seventies of the 20th century, at that time under the leadership of my friend Evert van Hasselt, now a retired surgeon.
As a surgeon, I regularly visited the hospital from 2005 to 2010 for the surgical training of the Clinical Officers Chimwemwe Msukwa and John Wanda.
The high quality of clinical care and the pleasant working atmosphere is still there.
The hospital has since been expanded. There are now 2 major theaters. And even I found there a functioning Surgical Skills lab that frequently is used.
A model hospital on a top location near Blantyre. Highly recommended visiting and working.
Dr. Jan Petit, surgeon, MALAWI.KOM
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