Providing the community with a local medical dispensary


We’ve helped 10,000 residents close to Mwaya have access to healthcare in their local area by building Mwaya Dispensary.

Disabilities in Malawi, Africa

Achievements and Future Plans

We built Mwaya Dispensary in 2010 and the Medical Assistant’s house in 2012. Many overseas volunteer doctors and nurses have assisted at the Dispensary which provides a health service to an average 100 patients a day. In the future we hope to build a nurse’s house so that a resident nurse-midwife can live on site and the clinic can expand it’s services.

How We Work

The District Health Officer and the local community highlighted the need for the Dispensary, so we were able to raise the funds and build the facility. We are supporting some of the staff costs at the dispensary.

£15 a month can support our healthcare projects

Mwaya Dispensary was built by Ripple Africa


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Basic healthcare provision is something which is universally essential to human beings around the world but in Malawi, the reality is that healthcare provision is less than adequate. In Nkhata Bay District where Ripple Africa is based, there is just one nurse for every 18,000 people, and just one doctor for over 250,000!

There are many challenges to public health in Malawi. A lack of access to basic facilities, and a severe shortage of trained medical professionals and basic medications, means that many people struggle to get the vital access to medical treatment they need.

Ripple Africa has built a Community Dispensary in Mwaya village, serving over 10,000 people who no longer have to travel up to 7km to the neighbouring villages of Kachere or Kande to receive treatment at clinics which are oversubscribed. Ripple Africa’s volunteer healthcare assistants also offer support to medical professionals at the clinic.

Facilities at the Dispensary include:

  • a general out-patients clinic
  • a clinic for children under five years old
  • a dispensary for commonly prescribed medicines.

Ante- and post-natal care services are still being provided at Kachere Health Centre.
The most common illnesses seen at the Dispensary are malaria and HIV/AIDS related, together with problems associated with malnutrition.

Construction started in July 2009. Pupils from Aldenham School in England helped to dig the foundations. Ripple Africa building staff continued with construction of the building, and it was completed in 2010.

The dispensary was formally opened on 22 June 2011 in a ceremony attended by District dignitaries (District Commissioner, District Health Officer, District Nursing Officer, etc.) and between 500 and 1,000 local people.

The costs of medical staff and medicines are being provided by the Malawian government. Ripple Africa maintains a close connection with the dispensary and currently employs two members of staff: someone to help dispense the medicines and a gardener.

As with all our projects, the Dispensary is a simple grass-roots solution to identified local need. The District Health Officer for Nkhata Bay District asked if Ripple Africa could help meet the medical need of a growing local population, and the Community Dispensary at Mwaya was the simple answer to meet that local need.

  • Ripple Africa will continue to employ one member of staff at the Dispensary.
  • Ripple Africa will continue to support additional healthcare costs in the community and at other local health centres as they arise, if funding permits.

This project addresses the following Sustainable Development Goals: