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Medical Programs

A critical need for health care assistance is evident throughout Malawi. The nationwide system of universal healthcare, put in place in the 1960s, and 70’s, has been unable to keep pace with the demands of a population that has grown from four million to 18 million in the past 50 years. Adding to the population explosion has been the advent of HIV/Aids, the continued onslaught of malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cholera, and other diseases and problems that are absent, or more fully controlled in western medical communities.

The critical nature of the need was recognized in the early 90s, and its fulfillment helped form a major focus for the Malawi Project. From its earliest year’s doctors, nurses and other medical personnel from first world nations formed teams working in the warm heart of Africa. Still today, as a result of the foundation laid by the Malawi Project, medical teams continue to offer assistance in various parts of the country.

In the first phase of medical programming, one-on-one assistance was extended to individual villages, trading centers, and rural hospitals. Phase two saw the creation of a well-supplied, Malawi staffed, 5-building, 110-bed, medical complex near the capital city of Lilongwe. Here first world medical personnel could base their operations. Supplies and equipment stored and staged at this facility were distributed to a number of individual medical facilities, primarily in the central and southern regions of the country.  Phase three has seen the enlargement of a nationwide outreach to government-run facilities, with supplies going into over 600 facilities.

Medical Supplies


Through more than a quarter of a century, the distribution of medical equipment, supplies, and medicine has been the largest program of the Malawi Project. While a portion of the supplies has gone to private, and non-governmental facilities, the bulk of the shipments have gone directly to rural, district, and level one government facilities. By and large, private facilities have outside funding and resources, while government facilities have no source beyond the cash-starved government. While government facilities are the most neglected, the bulk of the population, especially the poor, pass through the government system.

The U.S. based Malawi Project enjoys a relationship with the government allowing it direct access to individual facilities through our sister organization in Malawi, Action for Progress. This policy has been in place for 27 years and ensures supplies and equipment continue to reach the poor. In 2019, working with Action for Progress, a major new distribution hub was completed just west of the capital city of Lilongwe, ensuring sufficient space for storage, staging, and distribution of supplies nationwide.

Over the years, shipments have included top of the line equipment such as x-ray and ultrasound units, kidney dialysis machines, surgical tables, and state of the art diagnostic equipment. General items like beds, mattresses, over-bed tables, nightstands, and lighting supplies have helped upgrade wards and individual patient rooms. Bulk supplies that have shipped include medical protective gloves, operating room gowns, and items as simple as burn ointment, band-aids, gauze, and tape. Mops, brooms, and cleaning supplies for wards and operating theaters also make their way on these 40-foot cargo containers.

Medical Stories

Walmart Donates Protective Face Masks

Plainfield, Indiana … If you were told the donation equals 20% of the entire population of Malawi over the age of 24 would that get your attention?  One can hardly imagine the excitement when the offer was extended. The Indianapolis Distribution Center for Walmart had experienced an over-supply of protective face masks. They were offering…

View Through the Eyes of a Doctor

I drive to my workplace, but my clients walk from their homes, going up and down some hills and valleys to the clinic. Some have to leave their homes as early as 4:30 a.m. in order to arrive at the clinic at 8:00 a.m.

Retirement Does Not Mean "Stop"

Doug McDonald retired a few years ago from the restaurant business. It would have been easy for him to retreat to an easy chair, thinking his most productive days are behind him. Not so with Doug. If anything, he has speeded up his activities since retirement!

Local Groups Join to Assist Malawi

“The reception we have received in the Lebanon community has been very exciting and totally unexpected. So many people are becoming involved in helping Malawi, and the interest level is exceptionally high."

Second of Three Containers in one Month

A sign of relief arose from the group as Ken Keene, a newly appointed bookkeeper for the Malawi Project, attached the seal to the back door and signaled the time had come for the driver to pull away with the trailer contents, heading back to Chicago and the beginning of the 9,000-mile trip to Malawi.

Big Blue Barrels of Bleach

The government has sent a large supply of bleach to every tier one, and all of the nation’s 28 district hospitals. These hospitals are centrally located in each of Malawi’s districts, so the distribution of bleach has gone nationwide.

Ezelina Sings a New Song

Mzuzu, Malawi … It was a warm, pleasant Malawi day when Ezelina Mvula made her way to the Jomo Road church building. She had heard from a church member that this congregation was one of the locations where Action for Progress was distributing mobility units.  Ezelina had a particular reason for this trip down Jomo…

Jerry Saw Opportunity Everywhere

We met Jerry Winstead when he made his first trip to Malawi. He was a church elder and worked closely with Smith Howell, also an elder at the Goodman Oaks Church of Christ in Southaven, Mississippi. Both were committed supporters of the work in Malawi. Smith was older than Jerry and when we met, Smith…


Mbeya Village, Malawi … “I remember when we first arrived in Malawi two things that were most amazing to me,” observes Richard Stephens, a co-founder of the Malawi Project.  “One was the bamboo huts that constituted the homes of most of the village population, and second was the number of people walking. I later learned the average…


Lilongwe, Malawi … “I experienced an overwhelming shock when I saw patient after patient-facing infections from contamination in the very medical facilities they had entered for relief,” observes Suzi Stephens RN, the Malawi Project’s Medical Director. She recalls her 1993 exposure to Malawi’s medical situation, “I saw conditions that were often worse than those that had caused…
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