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Locations and Geography
Matema Hospital is in Kyela District, Mbeya Region. It is built on the shore of lake Nyasa and at the foot of the Ukinga (Livingstone) mountains. The average altitude is about 520 meters above sea level. It is about 45 km from Kyela town, the districts headquarter, and about 90 km from the headquarters of Konde Diocese (Tukuyu). Most of Kyela District is low land situated in the Great Rift Valley. Its annual rainfall is about 2000 – 3000 mm. The wet season is from December to June. Floods are common in March through May and the roads become impassable during this period.
Catchment area and population
Kyela District covers 13422 square Kilometers. Seventy percent of our patients come from the east of Kyela, while the rest are from the remaining part of Kyela, south-eastern part of Rungwe District and south–western part of Ludewa District. The District population according to the census 2002 174.342. Its crude birth rate is 48/1000 while the crude death rate is 14/1000. Our service area is Ntebele Division, which is approximately 500 square kilometers. It has 7 wards and 42 Villages. Women in childbearing age 31.382, children under five 36.612, under one 8.369. The under five mortality rate, countrywide is 166/1.000 while the maternal mortality rate stands at 173/100.000. The male: female ratio is 1:1,1. The literacy rate (1996) was said to be 71%. The population we serve is about 100,000 people.
Socio – Economic status
The community earns its living through farming, animal keeping and fishing activities and pottery. The produce is self –subsistence. Per capita income is about US$ 115 (Tsh. 92,000=) as per year 2000 statistics.85% are living in rural settings, 15% in Kyela town and bigger settlings.
Matema hospital with its 60 beds follows the government district hospital in Kyela with 150 beds (50 km). Then is there 1 government health center at Ipinda (28 km) and 22 dispensaries in the district. There is also 1 Baptist Health Center (15 km) and our 2 Lutheran dispensaries at Ngamanga and Mahenge. The neighboring Rungwe district has Itete hospital (63 km) and Tukuyu district hospital (90 km). Our official referral hospital is Mbeya Consultant Hospital (160 km). As the services there still let much to desire we do refer patients more often to Ilembula, Peramiho or Bulongwa.
Matema is very remote, about 40 km pretty bad all weather road from the tarmac road. Floods often affect the roads. If lake Nyasa is too stormy, especially January to June, marine transport becomes difficult. There is no telephone, radio–call or e-mail communication in Matema, no electricity except from the hospital generators. The nearest Airstrip is at Mbeya (160 km). Mobile phone companies have started in the area and the net starts to be better so that at certain places communication is possible. SMS is the easiest way to send messages to us.
For more information you can read the annual report.