Established in 1995, Kachere Rehabilitation Centre is Malawi‘s only free inpatient rehabilitation facility that provides help to people who suffered from injuries such as strokes and spinal cord injuries. Because of the nature of the injuries, some patients remain at the centre for up to 8 months.
Malawi Against Polio (MAP), the Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM) and the European Union (EU) played a major role in the early 90s to set up this facility. After noticing an acute need for inpatient rehabilitation facilities, MAP approached the Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM) in 1991 with an aim of presenting a proposal to the European Union for the construction of the rehabilitation centre. EU eventually released funding to the tune of MK3 Million Kwacha.
Construction of the structures took about two years and by 1992, all the buildings were completed. CBM as the mediators recruited a centre manager from Germany and a physiotherapist from Zambia. In 1995, the first patients were admitted. With the eradication of Polio, MAP changed its name to Malawi Against Physical Disability (MAPD). This non-governmental organization is running the Kachere Rehabilitation Centre currently.
For more than 20 years, the centre has been helping many people with disabilities due to stroke, spinal cord injury, amputation due to chronic infections, and disabilities caused byHIV infection. Most of these people come from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is just nearby.
Because patients stay at the centre for a long time, there is a lot of linen required; a lot of water is used and a lot of food is required to keep the patients in good health. There is also need for mobility appliances like wheelchairs to enable the patients move around from the sleeping areas to the treatment area, and to the bathrooms. New patients cannot move their bodies. It is only after some time of intensive treatment that they start to move on their own.The centre needs the right treatment equipment like leg exercisers, arm exercisers, robot treatment machines.
The centre receives funding from government but it is generally very small compared to the needs. According to the Mr Sydney Ndembe, the general manager of the centre, they give the government an annual budget of at least MK 144 million but they receive only MK 90 million. They are appealing for help from well-wishers out there. If you feel like helping or you know the people who can help, please drop me a note.
With a capacity of 40 beds, the centre is too small compared to the population of the country, which keeps on growing very fast. There is an urgent need to expand this facility and also to establish similar centers in other parts of the country.