Sight for the Children of Malawi
Too many children in Malawi are living with preventable, curable blindness in the poorest communities, simply
because they can’t access the care they need. You can change that. You can fund a Paediatric Ophthalmic Unit
at our partner hospital and save sight for more than 2,000 children every year.
See why Ed is so excited about this plan.
Childhood Blindness in Malawi
Too many children in Malawi are living with visual impairments in the poorest communities. They are dying, lonely,
neglected, uneducated, abused, viewed as a burden and seen as unemployable as adults. For many children, childhood
blindness and low vision is preventable and treatable, but too many families can’t afford care or even transport to that care.
And sight isn’t the only thing at stake.
In poor countries, 60–80% of blind children die within 1–2 years of becoming blind.
Children who are blind are much more likely to have had a serious illness in the last 12 months, including malnutrition, than children without a visual impairment.
Only 1 in every 10 children with severe visual impairments will ever get the chance to attend school, which is not only their way out of poverty but also their primary source of friendship and play.
Childhood blindness affects families and communities for generations and drives families deeper into poverty.
Faith’s story is all too common for many children in Malawi. What does it mean for a mom and child when the child is born with a complex eye condition? What does it look like to walk in their shoes? Read more.
Together with you, we’ll fund a two-story 10×10 metre building with a consultation room, play therapy room, nurses’ room, toilets and 2 wards (male and female, with 6 pediatric beds each) – all designed for kids.
With you, we’ll sponsor interim paediatric ophthalmic speciality training for one ophthalmologist and one anaesthesiologist, with plans to hire a dedicated paediatric ophthalmologist in the next 3 years.
With your support, we’ll increase partnerships with community-based disability programs and local government-employed ophthalmic clinical officers (OCOs). Nkhoma already partners with MACOHA a community-based program that reaches far into rural communities and finds children with eye care needs.
Dedicated, child-appropriate equipment for children’s more complex eye needs, including an anaesthesia machine for paediatric surgeries:
Anaesthesia Machine $35,486
Slit Lamp $12,411
OCT + Fundus Camera $51,300
Yag Laser $29,750
Portable Operating Microscope $30,190
Indirect Ophthalmoscope $2,421
Nkhoma Health delivery services began at almost the same time as the work of evangelization, with the very first missionaries in 1889. A hospital was built in 1903 by the Presbyterian Church.
Today, Nkhoma is a 250-bed hospital facility that operates as a district referral hospital with medical, surgical, paediatric, maternity, ophthalmic, isolation, TB ward, dental and private services.
The Eye Unit was started in 1955 and has served hundreds of thousands of patients with sight-saving eye care.
On our last visit to Nkhoma Hospital, Ed spent time talking with and praying with the hospital’s chaplain, Rev. Kalebe. Here are some excerpts from their conversation:
“I visit the sick daily. People are so excited that the pastor has come. I give them words of encouragement and they ask me to pray for them.”
“We have a God who heals… When patients come here, they receive holistic care – physical and spiritual.”
“Our biggest challenge is that most patients come from poor societies. They received services but leave a lot of bills unpaid. That is a challenge for the hospital. Every patient is treated, whether they can pay or not.”