The front entrance of the new Neno District Hospital.


Clinicians make the rounds in the pediatric ward of the new Neno District Hospital.

Barely two years after PIH's partner organization Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo (APZU) arrived and started treating patients, Neno boasts Malawi's newest, full-service district hospital.

In late January, staff from APZU and Malawi's Ministry of Health began moving patients into the new Neno District Hospital. The two-story, brick facility features a pediatric ward and intensive care unit for children with 30 beds; men's and women's wards with 35 beds; a 12-bed TB isolation ward; and a maternity ward with 20 beds.

Other highlights include a spacious, well-equipped laboratory, pharmaceutical warehouses, a blood bank, x-ray services, an emergency room and two operating rooms. The second floor houses offices, a data entry and electronic medical records room, and a conference room.

"It's really thrilling to see," remarked PIH Project Manager Jenna LeMieux, who returned from several weeks of travel to find the hospital had opened while she was away. "It's an enormous two-story building, with high, vaulted ceilings, great light, and terrific ventilation. And we have only one patient per bed, where we used to have two."

The new facility has transformed the experience of going to the hospital for patients and staff alike. "It has really given all of the staff a heightened sense of professionalism," LeMieux said. "We're all excited to come to work. Some of the project cleaners who had been working at the staff housing asked to be transferred to the hospital, even though that means they would have to work longer hours."