Doctors without Borders on Wednesday handed over a rapid screening unit and refurbished the female ward at Nsanje District Hospital.
The rapid HIV testing unit will accelerate the assessment of persons living with HIV. The facility has assisted about 400 advanced Aids cases since January.
Some of them are admitted to the 29-bed ward which once lacked maintenance.
Hospital management stopped supplying patients with foodstuffs to fund the rehabilitation of the ward.
“This is a symbol of the real sacrifice of the people of Nsanje. They sacrificed food for long-term development which will benefit millions of people in this country and the neighbouring Mozambique,” said Dr Andrew Likaka, director of quality management in the Ministry of Health.
Opened on September 5 1981, the largest hospital in the southern border district emerged as a refugee camp at the height of civil war in Mozambique.
Also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (Belgium), Doctors without Borders are working with the district health office and community members in Nsanje to combat HIV and Aids.
Head of Mission Ilse Casteels said: “When I first visited the female ward , I was shocked with the conditions in which patients were hospitalised. Patients had to do with one or two taps, the ceiling was ripped, dirt was falling off the ceiling, insects were crawling under the bed and there were holes in the windows.
“Despite the improvements made, we still have a long way to go. The Ministry of Health should continue supporting to ensure it has enough health workers, necessary drugs and regular visits to maintain standards.”
The turnaround started with a visit to ascertain if the number of patients in the ward tallied with the reported count of beneficiaries.