Central Africa Medical Mission History

1954: The first worship services are held at Lumano village, Zambia, the future site of the Central African Medical Mission.

1961: After several years of preparatory work, Rev. Edgar Hoenecke and the missionary on the field find a suitable site on the Sala Reserve for a dispensary. Approval from the local tribesmen and the government is obtained. Rev. Hoenecke and his wife Meta, a registered nurse with public health nursing experience, set up the dispensary. The dispensary is dedicated and opened on November 26. The Lumano dispensary is later renamed the Mwembezhi Lutheran Dispensary. It is now known as the Lutheran Mission Rural Health Center to differentiate it from a nearby clinic in Mwembezhi.

1963: As many as 4,000 people are seen any given month.

1965: A special prenatal clinic is started.

1968: A special under-fives clinic is started.

1986-1987: Two break-ins at the nurses’ and the missionaries’ houses call for a re-evaluation of the work being done. To increase personal safety, night call is dropped and the nurses stop delivering babies at the clinic. Attention is refocused on the original health care goals of doing more teaching and making village visits. Special classes are initiated by the staff to train both community health workers and traditional birth attendants. Volunteer workers are able to share their knowledge and skill by teaching positive health practices, taking care of simple health problems, and helping with village immunizations. These new programs develop an infra-structure that can meet the health needs of the community long after the expatriate presence is gone. The AIDS epidemic leads shifts focus to the health needs of the young adults who are HIV positive and the rapidly growing numbers of orphans left behind by their parents’ deaths.

1970: A medical program begins at Senga Bay, Malawi, with a mobile health care unit.

1980: Rising lake water forces the Salima Lutheran Mobile Clinic to relocate to Lilongwe, Malawi. The nurses continue to travel to designated bush areas to set up a clinic for the day and then return to their home in Lilongwe by nightfall. Structures that are built to serve as clinics during the week are used as houses of worship on Sunday.

2007: The Lutheran Mission Rural Health Center in Zambia is fully run by national staff and under the direction of a Chief Clinical Officer.

2020: A new clinic building in Msambo Village, Malawi, is completed and dedicated.

2021: CAMM celebrates its 60th anniversary.

2022: The Lutheran Mobile Clinic in Malawi is fully run by national staff and under the direction of a stateside Field Director.

2023: Approval is granted for a medical clinic in Kenya to occur in February 2024.


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