Although Kabudula Community Hospital is only one hour on a difficult road from Malawi's capital city of Lilongwe, it feels a world away. Despite its large catchment area of 360,000 people and 6300 visits per month, Kabudula Hospital is sorely understaffed, with nurses taking care of up to 50 patients at a time. They have been out of certain antibiotics and all anti-seizure medicine for nearly three months. For over 60 pediatric patients on the ward at a time (including 30 'floor beds'), there is only one functioning oxygen concentrator. The heroic head nurse Sofie described the dilemma they often face in choosing one child among many who will receive supplemental oxygen.
We returned to Kabudula last week with a box of Diazepam (anti-seizure medicine), Penicillin, Gentamicin, a glucometer, a pulse oximeter, and a Sure Flow Oxygen Splitter, which distributes oxygen from one concentrator to five patients at one time.