Health Care System & Education

Capacity building in Physiotherapy for the south-eastern Region of Malawi in Zomba as its centre

Organisation: Zomba Hospital Project e.V.
Partner country: Malawi
Partner organisation in partner country: Zomba Central Hospital



The south-eastern region of Malawi has a rapidly growing urban population, in particular rural. Zomba Central Hospital (ZCH) is one out of four tertiary referral centres in Malawi. Fulfilling this role, it caters for approximately 4.3 Million in the south-eastern region of Malawi. At the same time, it functions as the only hospital for Zomba City and Zomba District.  As well as the hospital, the department for rehabilitation plays a key role in the medical care for this community. The department receives approximately 50 out-patients daily, as well as, taking care of the inpatients in the wards of ZCH, which has 680 beds but a bed-occupancy rate range between 1 to 1,8 (!).
The needs for rehabilitation in the catchment area of this department are growing. First the population in the area has doubled in the last 20 years. This has not been met by an equivalent growth of capacity by rehabilitation facilities. Secondly, injury is now the most common reason for premature death and lasting disability in male population of working age and the second most after complication of pregnancy and labour in the female population of the same age. Emergency Medicine and Trauma Surgery are improving, although not as fast as one would want. In particular at ZCH several projects have increased the capacity in this fields over the last 25 years by training health care workers, improving structures for clinical case management and investment in hard ware (Increased Operating theatre capacity, more and better surgical equipment, Real time X-ray in OT, Pressure air, increased capacity in Central sterilization Department etc.). For instance there have been two projects under the German programme “Hospital Partnership” focusing on Orthopaedic Trauma surgery and one on Emergency Medicine. It would only be logic to complete this set now by investment in the capacity for rehabilitation following the principle of trauma care: Rescue, Recover, Reconstruct, Rehabilitate!


Improvement of knowledge and skills of the in Zomba based physiotherapists in undergoing a Master´s degree in Physiotherapy. We would like to ameliorate the connection of a physiotherapeutic network with the college of Blantyre and remote district hospitals. The aim is to improve the Physiotherapeutic services of Malawi through education and community.

  • Mr. Nkhata (Head of Department) will successfully undergo his Master´s degree in Physiotherapy until 09/2022. Then his deputy, Mr. Topesa will successfully finish a Master´s Degree until 09/2023.  
  • The permanent clinical educator will organize and teach workshops for students in physiotherapy for two days (8x during project duration and for 20 students)
  • Physio- und community-based Rehabilitation in remote villages in outreach programs (max 12 times for the duration of the project)


  • Master´s degree outside of Malawi
  • Renovation/Capacity building in Physiotherapy
  • Improvement of physiotherapeutic education
  • Improvement of physiotherapeutic network (outreach Program)
  • Taking part in building a master´s degree in Malawi
  • Improvement of conducting studies




  • Improvement of education in Physiotherapy in Malawi
  • Being part of a new era in Physiotherapy in Malawi: Creating a Master´s degree  
  • Building a Physiotherapy network


Special features:
  • Lay the foundation for a master´s degree of Physiotherapy within Malawi
  • Continous education and enhancement of skills in Physiotherapy
  • Enforcing rehabilitation in remote areas postoperatively