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About Chicuque Rural Hospital

  Small map of Africa showing location of Mozambique and UM Cross and Flame Mozambique is a country in southeastern Africa that is slightly less than twice the size of California and has a population of 19 million. The capital city is Maputo, which is located close to the border of South Africa. The official language is Portuguese.

Three hundred miles north of Maputo is a small fishing village along the Indian Ocean called Chicuque. Despite being a small community, Chicuque is well-known in Mozambique because of its one notable feature - the Chicuque Rural Hospital (CRH).CRH, a project of The United Methodist Church, is a 200-bed health care facility located in a fishing village on the southeastern coast of Mozambique. Serving a population of roughly 500,000 in and around the area, CRH strives to deliver quality health care services in the face of severely limited resources and within a very limited capacity.

History: The rural hospital began in 1913 as a project of the Methodist Church when a medical missionary, Dr. Charles John Stauffacher, founded "Chicuque Mission Station." The hospital remained a project of the denomination until 1975, when the hospital was nationalized and placed under the sole management of the Mozambique Ministry of Health. The United Methodist Church was approached by the health ministry in 1986, amidst government upheaval and a bloody civil war (1976-1992), and invited to forge a new partnership with the government of Mozambique to jointly manage and support the hospital. The partnership successfully continues today.

Hospital Services

The reception is the patient's first point of contact upon arrival to CRH. The hospital provides a range of primary and preventative health care services comprising women's health, general medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, pediatrics, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria treatment, HIV testing, a laboratory, a pharmacy, an emergency room, as well as a health and wellness education program.

In addition to malaria and TB, the most common ailments encountered at CRH include malnutrition, HIV, hernias and Caesarian-sections. CRH is considered a premier reference hospital and is one of three teaching schools in the country. It also serves as a model in the national plan to reduce maternal and child mortality in Mozambique.

Critical Needs

The hospital remains limited in its capacity to meet demands for service. First and foremost, there is a severe shortage of trained technical staff. As funding has tightened at CRH, more and more clinicians and nurses have been let go because the hospital cannot support their salaries. This has left a heavy workload for the remaining staff, which is required to work overtime hours. Professional development and continuous training is not an option for CRH's personnel.

Fundamental supplies such as sutures, needles, gauze and gloves are inconsistently supplied to the hospital and CRH struggles to provide the daily meal of rice and vegetables to the patients. There is insufficient funding for essential medical equipment for the maternal ward, laboratory, operating room and eye clinic. X-ray service is currently at a standstill as the machine is broken and finding the correct parts for the outdated piece of equipment has proven to be difficult. The ambulance that serves the hospital is old, unreliable and frequently breaks down.

To say the least, the culmination of such staffing and funding issues has created a challenging environment for CRH and the need for increased assistance is urgent.

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