Improving healthcare in Eswatini

Heart to Heart International’s (HHI) work in Eswatini (a country of 1.1 million people in southeast Africa) first began in 2018 when HHI sent a team to complete in-country assessments for possible health programming. During the first assessment mission, HHI noted how dilapidated the medical infrastructure was in several locations.

Most of the structures the team visited had leaky roofs, bat infestations and open termite damages creating unsuitable conditions for medical care. Similarly, the nurses’ housing units were also uninhabitable with nurses sometimes sleeping in exam rooms without appropriate sanitary accommodation. All this caused stress to professional staff and even made it difficult to recruit practitioners.

In 2022, HHI partnered with BD through its Volunteer Service Program and in collaboration with Bethany First Church of the Nazarene and the Swaziland Nazarene Health Institution to improve staff conditions and create appropriate housing for medical personnel. Today, a nurses’ unit is set up to house full-time nurses who provide medical and emergency care 24 hours per day with on-call after-hours care provided on site.

With the new nurses’ unit, clinic staff could be recruited and retained, but the practitioners were forced to provide care in a building that was no longer functional. Though desperately needed in the community, the clinic was bursting at its seams with nursing mothers, the elderly, and severely ill patients waiting in crowded corridors. The clinic also had non-functioning doors, roof leakage and mold everywhere. The 70-year-old building was showing its age and medical care was being compromised because of its conditions.

So earlier this year, we recently broke ground to construct a new clinic for the same community.  

In February, one month into the clinic construction, HHI received groundbreaking pictures with some foundation work, and we wanted to share the exciting development. We hope you are moved and inspired as we work hand in hand toward improving health access for the clinic patients in Eswatini.

Thank you to our in-country partners, Bethany First Church of the Nazarene and the Swaziland Nazarene Health Institution for sharing the wonderful pictures.

Note: Officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and formerly named Swaziland, Eswatini is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered by Mozambique to its northeast and South Africa to its north, west, south and southeast.

Because the adult HIV rate is almost 30 percent, the health focus for the past several years in Eswatini has been to improve HIV and TB protocols and treatments for the past several decades. And even though those conditions are being well addressed, the problems of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes, were not being addressed well at all. In fact, most NCDs were often diagnosed only when the patient is admitted for catastrophic health crises such as stroke, kidney failure or amputation due to untreated cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or other treatable conditions.