Ekwendeni College of Nursing is located in Northern Malawi in Ekwendeni, adjacent to Ekwendeni Hospital. Malawi has a population of 16.4 million people with less than three nurses for every 10,000 people (World Health Organization). Nurses form the foundation of medical care in Malawi by providing nursing and midwife care in hospitals, and community and rural health clinics.
For over 50 years, Ekwendeni College of Nursing has trained nurses, according to the principles included in its mission statement: “Ekwendeni College of Nursing through excellence in teaching and learning environment shall train/educate and inspire students in the nursing and midwifery profession within the Christian principles.”
The college offers a three-year program to earn a diploma in nursing and midwifery. This program is comprised of two years of study in general nursing and one year of training in midwifery. Currently, there are 307 students enrolled and, in 2014, 88 students graduated from the program. The school now also offers a three-year course in community nursing and a diploma for clinical officers.
In a nation with an average annual income of about $800, the majority of nursing students at Ekwendeni are unable to afford the tuition and require scholarships to advance in their nursing education. The government offers some partial and full scholarships to students upon the agreement to be placed wherever the government chooses after graduation. Ekwendeni has requested for their students to be placed at one of the hospitals of the Synod of Livingstonia, including Ekwendeni Hospital, Embangweni Hospital, David Gordon Memorial Hospital, and others, where the need for health care is urgent and there are few nurses available.
Nkhoma School of Nursing and Midwifery
Nkhoma College of Nursing and Midwifery offers a training program and a nurse midwives program; both of which are three-year diploma programs. The school originally started as a department of the Nkhoma Hospital, but it now is a college of Nkhoma University. Like many developing countries around the world, Malawi is desperately in need of trained health care workers, specifically nurses, so Nkhoma College is providing a vital resource to its local community.
Nkhoma College uses a block system that requires students to attend classroom work for a minimum of three weeks to a maximum of twelve weeks. During the weeks students do not have classroom work, they are in a clinical placement for four to eight weeks. This cycle continues throughout the duration of their schooling there.
Through an ASHA grant awarded in 2007, MBF helped with the construction and renovation of the nursing school. MBF continues to support the school through student scholarships.